Once again, the mainstream news media is ignoring, at least so far, a study that demonstrates that a common right-wing myth is false.
In this case, it’s the myth that immigrants are bad for the U.S. economy.
Two days ago, the highly reputable Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released a study by University of California-Davis economist Giovanni Peri that uses advanced statistical analysis to measure the short and long-term impact of immigration on jobs, wages, productivity and business investment in the United States over the past few decades.
The results of Peri’s extensive quantitative analysis support the contention that immigrants are good for the economy:
- Immigration has no impact on the employment of U.S.-born workers. In other words, immigrants do not take jobs away from “real Americans.”
- When immigration increases, the wages of the average U.S. worker increases a little; in fact Peri estimates that the gain in wages from additional immigration between 1990 and 2007 was about 20-25% of the total real increase in average annual income per worker.
- The productivity of the entire economy also improves as a result of increased immigration.
You probably haven’t heard of this survey because it has been just about completely ignored by the news media. A key word search in Google News found only 18 stories two days out. Most of these stories were blogs or very small media. I found only one wire story about the study, from the business-oriented Bloomberg.
Compare the second day totals this important research had on Google News with the second day totals months back for a survey that showed half of all TV weather personalities question the existence of global warming. As I pointed out in this blog, that survey of the attitudes of a group that has not studied climatology and in half the cases not even studied meteorology made the front page of the New York Times and had 96 second-day hits on Google News.
Or think about the coverage of the on-the-spot estimate that non-demographic expert Minnesota Republican Michelle Bachman made that one million people saw Glenn Beck spew racial code words at his Lincoln Memorial rally last Saturday. Google reports that 5,369 stories mention this estimate, which she spun out of thin air with no hint of what her methodology might have been. By the way, Bachman’s estimate got about the same play in the mainstream news media as the scientifically based estimate of 87,000 which CBS News commissioned a third party to determine.
I think my point is clear. The news media will cover the studies, surveys and estimates that play into its agenda, which today for the mainstream news media is to look right as much as possible as a strategy to keep the country from moving left in hard times.
If it seems as if the mainstream news media is ignoring scientific research such as Peri’s quantitative economic analysis and favoring attitudinal research, it’s only because science is typically not on the side of the right-wing.