In their concern that all Hispanics who are in the country unlawfully as well as the U.S. Hispanic community as a whole will be tainted by the revelation that Mollie Tibbetts' murderer was a Mexican national who was unlawfully present in the United States, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has issued a rather disturbing call for censorship, calling on media outlets to withhold referencing "race and citizenship status" when reporting on suspects involved in crimes.
"While this information from these trusted news sources may be true, this is an inaccurate representation of an entire community," the NAHJ declared, as if the public is not capable of distinguishing the difference between "bad hombres" who commit crimes and the vast majority of "good hombres" who do not, much less understand that violent criminals make up a small minority of every ethnic, racial and legal status component of U.S. society.
However, the fact of self-confessed murderer Cristhian Bahena Rivera's illegal status in the country is indeed germane to the ongoing U.S. public debate over the nation's current immigration laws, policies and enforcement matters.
As the NAHJ sees it, "the subject's immigration status is irrelevant to the crime that was committed and by referencing the two in conjunction, the press is condemning an entire community of crimes that an individual committed." The reality is that in this case the subject's immigration status is relevant to the crime that was committed, since had Bahena Rivera not been allowed to live illegally in the country in the first place, he simply would not have had the opportunity this summer to kill Mollie Tibbetts. Tibbetts had only one life, which was snuffed out by Bahena Rivera.
The NAHJ is also engaging in misdirection by affirming that 'the race and immigration status of these individual's (sic) do not play a role in the motivation for the crime and is irrelevant for the part of their identity to be tied in with the crime committed." No one has suggested that ethnicity and immigration status are themselves proof evident of criminal intent. But immigration status is absolutely germane to coverage of these stories, just as it was germane to report that several of the 9/11 terrorists overstayed their visas.
Thankfully, when the murder story first broke on August 21, leading Hispanic media outlets like Univision did not follow the NAHJ's marching orders. For example, this is how Univision anchor Ilia Calderón framed the factual hard-news story:
ILIA CALDERON, ANCHOR, NOTICIERO UNIVISION: Good evening. The undocumented immigrant charged with the murder of an Iowa student passed his background checks for employment at a farm. But the company that employed Christian Bahena Rivera stated that he worked under another identity, that they didn’t know he was undocumented and described him as “a good worker”.
Coverage of the Tibbetts case also led off the following day's Univision national evening newscast. It is unfortunate that the NAHJ would attempt to suppress brutally honest, fact-based journalism and favor instead an attempt to advance a preferred immigration advocacy agenda, in addition to the tyranny of political correctness.