Skip to comments.Choosing to be Stupid: NPR Polls Immigration
Posted on 03/31/2006 5:24:29 AM PST by Steely Tom
The Tuesday edition of NPR's All Things Considered included a story titled "Illegal Immigration Divides Americans, Poll Says." The story started out with very short sound bytes of comments by passersby in Washington DC. It ended with coverage of polling data from the Pew Research Center for The People and The Press. It was this poll caught my ear as I drove home. The poll seemed to me to be unusally silly, but they saved the silliest part for the last. I went to their website and found the audio of the story; I transcribe the last question and answer here. The interviewer was Melissa Block. Her guest was Andrew Kohut, the President of the Pew Center.
Andrew Kohut: Well, we divided our sample according to what kind of zip code people lived in, and the people who lived in the zip codes with the highest concentrations of immigrants: we found fewer of these people think that immigrants are a burden on the country, fewer of them think that immigrants threaten our cultural traditions, and fewer of them are critical in a whole range of ways. However, in the places where people have almost no exposure to immigrants, a greater percentage of people think... ah... they represent a threat to the country, our... our... the nation has to be protected against foreign influence; so there's a number of things going on here, and one of them is a bit of a nativist concern... in some of these areas and among certain groups where there's not a lot of contact and exposure to to immigrants.
Now this seemed to me to be completely absurd. I know from personal experience, as well as from comments I've seen here on Free Republic (and elsewhere on the internet) that people in areas that are overrun by illegal immigrants are incensed by the phenomenon, and that people who live in areas where the problem is invisible (like where I live) rarely talk about it. So I thought, what are they doing here, to get these results, to come to this conclusion?
The answer, I believe, lies in the phrase "what kind of zip code people lived in." I thought "what if they are just lumping everyone in each zip code together, calling a random sample of people within each zip code, and asking them the same questions, without trying to discover whether the person being questioned is an illegal alien. If you call phone numbers within the zip code that includes Brownsville, Texas, and ask every person you call how they feel about illegal aliens, you are going to be asking that question of a significant number of illegal aliens. Of course they are going to "be less critical in a whole range of ways."
And notice that Mr. Kohut does not characterize the percentage of people who are "concerned" and "not concerned." He doesn't speak in terms of "a majority believes this" or "a plurality believes that." He simply says "fewer of these people think that immigrants are a burden on the country..." How much is "fewer?" 10%? 3%? 1%? He doesn't say.
Kohut then sums up by drawing the conclusion that "nativist concerns" are at work among "certain groups where there's not a lot of contact and exposure to immigrants." Leave aside the normal blurring of the lines between "immigrants" and "illegal immigrants," this happens so often in the liberal media that it's hardly worth mentioning. Instead, note the use of the word "nativist," and it's linkage with the concept that "nativists" are people who have little exposure to immigrants. For those who listen often to NPR, these will be recognizable as well-known code phrases, and I don't think I have to decode them for you.
The thing is, the real stupidity (or is it dishonesty) of Andrew Kohut only becomes apparant when you deconstruct his comment word by word, which you cannot do when listening to it on the radio, for instance while you are driving.
Why do you put yourself though the abuse of listening to NPR? It's terrible.
I agree with you 100%. Another example of liberal NPR bias.
Excellent piece, Steely.
YET AGAIN, they try to paint it as an anti-IMMIGRANT attitude.
Will somebody else PLEASE explain to these yahoos that the issue is ILLEGAL immigrants, not immigrants?
I'm tired of trying.
/If you call phone numbers within the zip code that includes Brownsville, Texas, and ask every person you call how they feel about illegal aliens, you are going to be asking that question of a significant number of illegal aliens./
That's a very good point and one that the researcher really needs to respond to before anyone can draw any conclusion from the study.
As Ron White says in his new shtick: "You caiiin't fix stupid."
I am completely shokced to discover illegal immigrants are opposed to illegal immigration. Only a liberal NPR reporter type would marvel at this conclusion.
Be sure and get some rest and regain your mental acuity before you tune in NPR again, it can damage your congnitive function with as little as 30 minutes exposure!
I heard what has to be close to the dumbest statement on CNN this morning. The reporter was making her commentary when she stated that no matter what the congress decides about immigration they will have made Illegal Immigrants Criminals.
Actually, there is a lot more to the survey done. It looked at 5 cities, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Chicago, DC, Raleigh-Durham. The survey showed that Phoenix and Las Vegas, the two with the highest concentrations of Latinos considered it a problem, with Phoenix calling immigration a very serious problem. So that does seem to negate somewhat the bias error attributed to the zip codes that you pointed out.
Your hypothesis is very possible, imho. A zip code has about 10,000 residents, and they certainly can be ghettos.
They also noticed that they were requested to ask the questions in Spanish in those zip codes.