An unlikely alliance between a talk radio host and a college professor, who got run down by an illegal alien, has sparked a turn-around for Tulsa, Oklahoma. From a sanctuary city it has become a watchful and wary city. And due to an extraordinary response by viewers, MSNBC has noticed and reported on this radical change.
Much of the national media decided in its coverage that the citizen uprising which sank the illegal immigration bill in the US Senate was 1) driven solely by right-wing interests, and 2) that it would blow over right after that defeat. Neither assumption is correct, as demonstrated by an article on MSNBC, which is at least on the fringes of the mainstream media. The article was “Turmoil in Tulsa: the Illegal Immigration Wreck,” and it appeared on 9 July 2007.
The story itself is almost mundane. Its importance is why and where it appeared.
MSNBC is conducting “Gut Check America” surveys. These are non-scientific, based solely on reader responses on the Net. This generates weekly “five most important story” lists. Then an equally non-scientific vote chooses the top one. In this case, illegal immigration.
That caused the network to assign a reporter to do the cover story on Tulsa, which centers on Gary Rutledge, a college professor who wrote a story about being rear-ended by an illegal alien driver at 30 MPH while stopped at a light. Fortunately, neither the Professor nor his wife were injured. Unfortunately, the investigating officer said he was “barred from asking about the other driver’s citizenship.” That all he would face is 30 days for causing an accident, and then he’d be loose to stay and drive again.
Between the writings of Rutledge, and the words of Dan Howard, a local radio talk show host, Tulsa has been turned around from being a sanctuary city to acting on illegal immigration. Both the Oklahoma legislature and the Tulsa City Council have acted, in the face of the gross failure of the federal government to act. As the spokeswoman for the Tulsa Mayor said, “Increasingly, because there’s no consistent federal law, states and cities are cobbling together immigration laws on their own.”
That statement, in the final paragraph, should have been the lede. The simple truth is that illegal immigration remains a top issue for Americans across the country. Public costs and crimes committed, especially those resulting in deaths of Americans, are driving this issue. And it will play out locally in actions like those in Oklahoma and Tulsa, whether or not the mainstream media notice.
It remains live on talk radio. And, in case anyone missed the point, talk radio, coupled with the Internet, is the cutting edge of American media today.