Before 2002, I had a fairly good relationship with the Journal’s editorial page–a wonderful thing for any young and aspiring conservative writer to have. On my home office wall, I still keep a framed copy of my first WSJ op-ed piece published on October 18, 1995 (a “Rule of Law” column highlighting an absurd application of the Clean Water Act that led to the banning of high school car washes). The WSJ ran several other of my pieces over the years on everything from the hypocrisy of conservative supporters of taxpayer-subsidized sports stadiums, to the charter school movement, to the success of a Washington state initiative banning government racial preferences.
In late August 2002, in advance of the release of my first book Invasion, I submitted an investigative op-ed to the Wall Street Journal on national security problems with the Transit Without a Visa program. I had obtained a memo outlining how the TWOV program had been exploited in Los Angeles by suspected Middle Eastern terrorists. Federal investigators nabbed two Jordanian nationals who worked at Los Angeles International Airport as contract security guards and helped run a smuggling ring out of the TWOV “lounge” for transiting passengers. Instead of guarding them, the Jordanians escorted them safely and illegally out of the airport in violation of the TWOV program–and helped approximately 1,000 of the smugglees (mostly males of Middle Eastern descent and including some individuals who later turned up on the State Department terrorist watch list) obtain fraudulent Social Security cards between 1998-2000. I warned that the TWOV program remained at risk of abuse and that security was still lax at the lounges used by TWOV passengers.
The piece proved prescient. A year later, Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge suspended the TWOV program based on national security concerns.
Unfortunately, the WSJ never ran the piece. (It ran instead in National Review Online). Although the WSJ initially accepted and scheduled my piece for publication, the piece was yanked at the last minute.
I am, as the Journal knows from its past publication of my work, a free-market kind of gal. The paper can print what it wants to print. If my writing didn’t meet the editorial page’s journalistic standards, fine. But did they yank the piece because of factual errors? Reporting problems? Were there questions about my sources? Or the authenticity of the memo? No, no, no, and no.
The problem, an editorial-page staffer informed me, stemmed from two columns I had written (here and here)–totally unrelated to the TWOV piece–which had challenged the WSJ’s advocacy of amnesty for illegal aliens. Were there factual inaccuracies in either of those pieces? No. In fact, the only errors in those columns were the ones I pointed out had been made by the WSJ editorial page when it mischaracterized the amnesty program it was championing.
I was told by the editorial features staffer that I had antagonized the page’s higher-ups. The bottom line is that my criticism of the WSJ’s misleading pro-illegal alien propaganda caused me to be shut out of the esteemed editorial pages (though I still get a nice mention every now and then on the online OpinionJournal.com’s Best of the Web feature…but probably not for much longer).
Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not some woe-is-me story. Before the rise of the Internet, FOX News, talk radio, and other alternative media outlets, getting published in the WSJ was one of the few ways conservatives could be read/heard nationally. In 1995, a WSJ op-ed was critical to establishing national-level conservative bona fides. Today, having access to the WSJ editorial pages just doesn’t matter as much.
But here is the sad thing: Given the WSJ editorial page’s continued wide influence, it is possible, if not probable, that the TWOV program would have been suspended far more quickly had my piece run. The editorial page chose–
and still chooses today–to put its blind, deaf, and dumb Open Borders orthdoxy above national security.
Which brings me to the WSJ’s lead editorial today, “Borderline Republicans.” The editorial recycles old claims that conservative opponents of illegal immigration are part of some cabal with radical environmentalists and pro-abortionists. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies effectively refuted those specious claims here. The smear tactic is positively Clintonesque. Are there fringe characters among those who believe in strictly and uniformly enforcing immigration laws? Sure. Is it a Vast Malthusian Conspiracy? No.
The editorial then attacks GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo for criticizing other Republicans (doing so makes him a “borderline Republican,” get it?) and ends with a full-throated endorsement of Rep. Chris Cannon, who faces a strong challenge from conservative Matt Throckmorton, an unapologetic supporter of strict immigration enforcement who, unlike Cannon, will not take campaign donations from illegal aliens or give them discounted college tuition rates.
The editorial ends by sympathetically quoting Rep. Cannon, who whines that conservative opponents of illegal immigration are applying a “litmus test” to Republicans on this issue.
Given my own experience with the Journal editorial page, there was only one natural response to this hand-wringing over mean-spirited conservatives applying litmus tests on immigration:
Snort, snort, snort.
I’m just glad I wasn’t drinking milk when I read this tripe.