Who, what, and where, by what helpe, and by whose,
Why, how and when, doe many things disclose.
— The Arte of Rhetorique, 1560
In “The Five Ws (and H) of Journalism,” Richard Nordquist notes that, in the above lines, English rhetorician Thomas Wilson devised the formula that later became standard in journalism. “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Where,” “Why,” and “How” remain the basic framework for writing a newspaper story, particularly in the lede (an article’s beginning). Supposedly, the WWWWWH is still taught today in our journalism schools. Readers can view it in action in this entertaining YouTube clip from the 1958 film Teacher’s Pet, where Clark Gable, a reporter disguising his identity, sits in on Doris Day’s journalism class.
Keeping the Five W’s and H in mind, let’s have a look at the crisis on our southern border.
In her article “Migrant Encounters at the Border Smashes Record in December as Crisis Continues to Worsen,” Debra Heine takes her turn at the alarm that has sounded since the Biden administration opened our border to all migrants three years ago. Using Customs and Border Patrol information originally obtained by Fox News’ Bill Melugin, Heine tells readers that more than 267,000 illegal immigrants crossed the southern border in December 2023, a record even with the three days remaining in the month when she wrote the piece. Since October 1, over 767,000 migrant encounters have occurred, making the fiscal quarter also a record.
Meanwhile, as Heine notes, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that this traffic in illegal migrants “is not unusual.”
Given these details, and given that the blame for the collapse of our border lies on the current administration, I have some questions and requests for corporate media. I’d like journalists to explain their application (or lack thereof) of the Five W’s and H to this catastrophe.
Faithful journalists must explain in full that these illegal invaders include people from countries like China. These journalists must investigate and make clear to American readers who is behind this invasion—who is funding and encouraging it. Are we supposed to believe that thousands of people decide on their own initiative to form a caravan and begin hiking toward the United States?
It’s clear what is taking place. Our present administration is allowing immigrants to enter our country—even encouraging them via material aid. When the media reports this news, it should make that fact plain.
This too is clear. We’ve permitted this invasion for three years.
Again, obvious. At the southern border.
Right here is where “professional” journalists go off the rails. Why is it that, in a full three years, not one member of the Biden administration has clearly and cogently explained to the American people why floods of migrants are allowed into the country? More pointedly, why is it that during this time, so few journalists have raised the “why” question?
Because of the administration’s duplicity and the media’s complicity, few Americans understand why excessive immigration is taking place—other than as a deliberate attempt to sabotage and radically transform our country.
How is this massive flow of people into our country taking place under the very eyes of our government? How is it organized? How is it equipped? And how is it possible that most reporters ignore these questions?
The dire consequences of ongoing power usurpation are painfully obvious. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that fentanyl deaths have skyrocketed in the last six years, with many of the deceased being young people. China is the primary supplier of the chemicals from which Mexican cartels make fentanyl, and the monies paid for these drugs fund those cartels both in Mexico and the United States.
In addition to this, tens of thousands of immigrant children have gone missing in 2021 and 2022 alone, adding to the dangers of unmitigated immigration. Plus, the cost to the American taxpayer for the social services provided to non-citizens is over $150 billion a year and rising. Contagious diseases, including polio and tuberculosis, are walking unvetted across our borders via illegal migrants.
On December 23, 2023, Ingrid Jacques reported that President Biden’s approval rating among voters had fallen to 34 percent, the lowest of his time in office. The border and inflation were the main concerns among those polled. In other words, most Americans are quite aware that the Biden administration owns the border policy, and they rightfully blame the president for a disaster that will stay for decades.
But the press deserves a large part of this blame as well. Had reporters and commentators done their job, they would have held Biden and his advisers accountable from the very beginning of this fiasco. They would have asked “Who,” “How,” and “Why,” and they would have demanded answers. They would have done what they were supposed to do: dig into the matter and ask questions.
Let me end with one amusing coincidence. An October 2023 Gallup Poll found that only 7 percent of Americans had a “great deal” of trust in the major news outlets, with only 27 percent more having a “fair amount” of confidence. Add those two numbers together, and you have 34 percent, which matches Joe Biden’s current approval ratings.
Given the deficient reporting on the border crisis, that seems about right.
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