7News again failed to fully identify controversial immigration opponent Frosty Wooldridge

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In a July 12 report about an immigration raid at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley, KMGH 7News interviewed anti-immigration activist Frosty Wooldridge, whom it identified as the author of seven books and a "raid supporter." As Colorado Media Matters has noted, Wooldridge's writings on immigration are controversial, and he has used dubious statistics to promote his anti-immigration agenda.

On the July 12 broadcast of KMGH's 7News at 10 p.m., 7News quoted controversial anti-immigration activist Frosty Wooldridge -- whose views on immigration prompted conservative Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi to label him "a modern-day Chicken Little who buys into the widely discredited idea of a population bomb" -- during a story about a July 10 immigration raid at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley. Colorado Media Matters has pointed out other occasions when 7News used Wooldridge as a source in stories about immigration without noting his controversial writings on the subject or his use of faulty statistics to further his anti-immigration agenda.

Co-anchor Mike Landess reported that "Tuesday's arrests at the Swift plant in Greeley once again highlight the immigration issues that plague our state. Two supervisors were arrested at the plant, one for being in the U.S. illegally." 7News reporter Russell Haythorn then reported that "[t]he immigration raid in Greeley seven months ago remains the talk of the town and a major point of contention for those who believe it destroyed hard-working families." After interviewing a person critical of the raids, Haythorn stated that "while some in Greeley see the impact of the raid as negative, many view the roundup as largely positive," then aired footage of Wooldridge. Haythorn identified Wooldridge as the author of "seven books" and someone who "believes interior enforcement is key to controlling illegal immigration, but also population." On-screen text that appeared during Wooldridge's remarks identified him as a "raid supporter."

7News aired Wooldridge's comments that "[w]e either have a lawful society or we have a lawless society" and that "today we have a new 21st-century slave class in these illegal aliens working up in Greeley and around the state, and it's time that we get back to integrity. It's time that we get back to the honesty that built this nation."

Besides authoring books about Antarctica and bicycling around the world, Wooldridge is the author of Immigration's Unarmed Invasion (Author House, 2004). Wooldridge also has written many immigration-related articles posted on the NewsWithViews.com website. In one of those articles, Wooldridge asserted: "We cannot celebrate or tolerate growing numbers of Charles Mansons' from other cultures like Muslim terrorists among us." In a March 25, 2005, article, Wooldridge falsely suggested that "29 percent of criminals filling jails across this country are illegal and legal immigrants" who "cost US taxpayers $1.6 billion annually." And in another posting, Wooldridge wrote, "[J]ust wait until our illegal Mexican aliens riot, or worse, start voting!"

Furthermore, appearing as a guest on the September 26, 2006, broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show, Wooldridge repeated the dubious statistic -- originally attributed to U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) -- that illegal immigrants "kill 25 Americans every single day of the year." Wooldridge is also one of several conservatives to spread misinformation about the number of cases of leprosy resulting from immigration in recent years. In a letter (accessed through the Nexis database) to The Washington Times published September 5, 2003, Wooldridge falsely stated that "7,000 new cases of leprosy in three years" had "crossed over from Mexico, India and Brazil."

As Colorado Media Matters noted, 7News featured Wooldridge in a May 16 report on immigration reform legislation that ultimately failed to advance in the U.S. Senate, airing his assertion that the measure would trigger a wave of immigration he likened to a "human" Hurricane Katrina that would make all U.S. citizens either "victims or survivors."

From the July 12 broadcast of KMGH's 7News at 10 p.m.:

LANDESS: Tuesday's arrests at the Swift plant in Greeley once again highlight the immigration issues that plague our state. Two supervisors were arrested at the plant, one for being in the U.S. illegally. These arrests come on the heels of a major raid back in December, you'll remember. 7News reporter Russell Haythorn tells us those raids are having a widespread impact here in Colorado.

[begin video clip]

HAYTHORN: The immigration raid in Greeley seven months ago remains the talk of the town and a major point of contention for those who believe it destroyed hard-working families.

CHANDRA RUSSO (raid protester): These raids are a concentrated attack on communities throughout Colorado. They're tearing families apart. It's, it's neither a reasonable nor a humane tactic for dealing with a very broken immigration system.

HAYTHORN: But while some in Greeley see the impact of the raid as negative, many view the roundup as largely positive.

WOOLDRIDGE: We either have a lawful society or we have a lawless society.

HAYTHORN: Frosty Wooldridge, who's authored seven books, believes interior enforcement is key to controlling illegal immigration, but also population.

WOOLDRIDGE: And today we have a new 21st-century slave class in these illegal aliens working up in Greeley and around the state, and it's time that we get back to integrity. It's time that we get back to the honesty that built this nation.

HAYTHORN: Whatever the case, Tuesday's follow-up arrests are proof the immigration issue continues to plague not only Greeley, but all Colorado communities. Russell Haythorn, 7News.

[end video clip]

LANDESS: The mayor of Greeley, Tom Selders, has been somewhat outspoken about the timing and the method of those raids back in December. Selders was out of town today, but he told 7News he was disappointed that recent efforts to reform immigration laws in Washington have failed. However, he said that ICE's [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] job is to uphold the law and they seem to be doing that.

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