A pair of July 3 CNSNews.com articles by Jeff Golimowski and Katherine Poythress about left-wing and right-wing extremists involved in the immigration debate were quite surprising and interesting -- as far as they went, at least.
The surprising part came in the left-wing article, which paints the Aztlan "reconquista" movement of reclaiming the southwestern United States for Mexico as the domain of extremists criticized even by other "pro-immigrant" groups -- and even more surprisingly, that the group known as MEChA, while referring to it in its 1960s-era founding papers, is not actively promoting it. The article states that "according to observers on the left and the right, the modern MEChA movement is run by college students and focuses mainly on encouraging Latino high school students to go to college and the retention of Latino students already enrolled in universities," adding that "the group is so decentralized that Cybercast News Service could not even locate a national spokesperson."
The article quotes one activist as saying that "MEChA is being used as a bogeyman by the anti-immigrant movement" and notes that the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok describing that "conspiracy theories" about Aztlan originated among far-right groups and later worked their way into the wider immigration debate. But nowhere does the article single out those "mainstream" conservatives trying to make hay out of the Aztlan "bogeyman," such as Michelle Malkin and Lou Dobbs.
Golimowski and Poythress' article on right-wing extremists, meanwhile, allows a representative of the Council of Conservative Citizens to defend itself against charges of being a white supremacist organization (though they do let the spokesman's pronouncements -- "Blacks have been here for about 400 years. Have we really successfully assimilated them?" -- speak for themselves) without recounting the group's history as a offshoot of the anti-integration Citizens Councils of America of the 1950s and '60s.
With these sorts of pieces and the jettisoning of a couple of its more extreme columnists such as Ralph Hostetter (who's now peddling his xenophobia at NewsMax), CNS seems to be turning in more of an in-depth, analytical (though still sympathetic to conservativism) journalistic direction. If it can keep this up and not be afraid to fully document the the bad of the conservative movement as well as the good, it might turn into a real news organization yet.