Media Blog

Publicizing One Side’s Immigration “Icons”

Tomasa Mendes is a two-year-old tot whose illegal-alien father was caught in an ICE raid in March in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Her crying picture, taken in March in a local church basement, has become an “icon” for illegal-alien advocates, and so the illegal-alien advocates at The Washington Post ran the photo, completely dominating the top half of Sunday’s Style section with the headline “Poster Child: In Tomasa Mendes, the Immigration Debate Now Has a Very Public Face.”
Reporter David Montgomery, often taking up the role of publicist to left-wing protest movements, easily admitted he was writing a story about propaganda value: “She is a girl who became a picture who became a poster who became an icon — or a piece of propaganda, if you like — in the push and pull over immigration reform. The girl in the picture visited Washington the other day, where she kept coming face to face with . . . the girl in the picture, her picture. And more cameras, making yet more pictures. What is the degree of separation between the girl and the girl in the picture? Some pictures mean exactly what they say, and that is why they are seized upon by shrewd adults to make into icons.”
And those “shrewd adults” also know that The Washington Post will lap up their public-relations kits, then add their own words of profundity to give it added punch. Montgomery also helped the leftists drag in (cliche alert!) Hurricane Katrina:
“It was Katrina-like in the basement,” crowded with desperate families whose lives had just been upended, says George Goehl, field organizer with the Washington-based Center for Community Change. “That image showed up. It was so clear that it encapsulated what the whole story was about.”The center and other groups made thousands of posters and fliers featuring Tomasa’s tearful visage. Electronic versions were beamed from coast to coast. The little girl in the picture looked out beseechingly from placards carried by marchers at immigrant-rights rallies from Denver to New York to Washington. Slogans appeared with the image: “Where’s My Mom? Where’s My Dad?”
Montgomery and the Post failed to acknowledge that the border-control advocates have their own icons, their own heart-breaking moments with daughters. For example, the Post could run the pictures of Allison Kunhardt and Tessa Tranchant, two Virginia Beach teenagers killed by an illegal-alien drunk driver, also in March. But guess what? Despite the Virginia angle, the Washington Post has never even mentioned the names of these girls.

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...

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