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Friday, May 18, 2007
The Folly of Relying On NewsMax For Research
Topic: NewsBusters

In a May 17 NewsBusters post aimed at countering Geraldo Rivera's claim that illegal immigrants are "hard-working people, law-abiding, family people, socially-conservative people in many ways," Mark Finkelstein cited a "recent NewsMax article, which in turn relies on confirmation by a former senior special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service," claiming among other things that "Ninety-five percent of warrants for murder in Los Angeles, Calif. are for illegal aliens." Finkelstein added: "So how about it, Geraldo? Do you refute those figures[?]"

Well, if Geraldo won't, we will. 

The "recent NewsMax article" is, in fact, a March 15 column by George Putnam making the highly dubious claim that "illegal aliens are killing more Americans than the Iraq war." NewsMax brands Putnam as , but he's also a hard-core conservative who starred in an anti-pornography propaganda film in the 1960s (produced by future S&L scandal generator Charles Keating) that features Putnam giving "a dramatic reading from the novel Sex Jungle, one of a multitude of erotic paperbacks written under the name 'Don Elliott' by science fiction luminary Robert Silverberg."

As far as the "Ninety-five percent of warrants for murder in Los Angeles, Calif. are for illegal aliens" goes, well, not so much. As Snopes points out, that figure is for outstanding murder warrants; it does not mean, as Putnam and Finkelstein are implying, that 95 percent of murders in Los Angeles are committed by illegals. That number is likely is unusually high because, well, they're illegal and they can fairly easily escape back across the Mexican border.

And the "former senior special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service" who purportedly verified those figures is, in fact, Michael Cutler, who now works for the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies. So the guy clearly has an agenda and in interest in pushing such dire numbers, something both Putnam and Finkelstein might have mentioned. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT

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