Hundreds of people gathered at the Connecticut Capitol, in Hartford, on April 29 to misrepresent the immigration issue. They were assisted by Gov. Dannel Malloy, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. John B. Larson. The rally was said to be in support of immigrants, as if the country in general and President Trump in particular oppose any and all immigration.
But of course the controversy is about illegal immigration, and the elected officials -- all Democrats -- and the other speakers didn't want to address that. The Democratic position seems to be that anyone who breaks into the country illegally and reaches a "sanctuary city," such as New Haven or a "sanctuary state," such as Connecticut, should be exempt from enforcement of immigration law.
The April 29 rally goers were especially concerned about an illegal immigrant living in Derby, Luis Barrios, whom federal immigration officials have ordered to return to Guatemala by May 4. Yes, Barrios apparently hasn't done anything to deserve priority for deportation, but then he has not been given priority.
It turns out that an immigration court ordered him deported in 1998 -- 19 years ago, during the Clinton administration, a Democratic administration -- after he missed a court hearing, but enforcement was repeatedly postponed, giving him time to marry and start a family here in the hope of gaining an exemption. While news organizations reported that Barrios could not attend a rally in his support at the federal building in Hartford over the weekend because he was working, they did not explain how someone ordered deported so long ago had been given permission to work all these years.
Yes, Guatemala is dangerous and many Guatemalans like Barrios would prefer to be here. But is this country to take everyone who wants to leave Guatemala or other troubled countries? Should there be no rules for immigration into the United States? The rally did not address those questions and the news organizations attending it obligingly declined to ask them.
President Trump long has been denouncing the news media as "dishonest" for purveying "fake news." He did it again over the weekend, declining to attend the annual dinner of the White House news correspondents so he could address a rally of his supporters in Harrisburg, Pa. The president said he was thrilled to get away from the "Washington swamp," adding: "A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now. If the media's job is to be honest and to tell the truth, the media deserves a big fat failing grade."
Yet just a few days earlier the president's appointee as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, told a meeting of television and radio broadcasters in Las Vegas that the commission wants to repeal many regulations, including those that prevent concentration of ownership of broadcast companies and their acquisition of newspapers in the same market.
So if Big Media is "dishonest," why should the Trump administration facilitate its enlargement? Why shouldn't the administration want to break up the big media companies? For with broadcast licenses there are only two policy options: to concentrate ownership or to diversify it. Ownership of the broadcasting industry is already highly concentrated, so if the industry is "dishonest," more consolidation will make it only more so.
The contrast between the president's anti-media rhetoric and his administration's broadcast-station ownership consolidation policy suggests that Trump doesn't really believe what he is telling people. The contrast suggests that "fake news" is just Trump's way of distracting people from the swamp creatures he is empowering even as he denounces them
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.