Tuesday, April 12, 2005

What liberal bias?

The AP has a story on today's news wires, "W.Va. Makes English Its Official Language." Nothing is particularly remarkable about this story except the way it is presented. First, the story is presented with quotes from three legislators that all make it seem like the bill was snuck in at the last minute without the Legislature knowing what is was voting upon. I don't have much quibble with this, as it may be true. (After all, two of the legislators quoted were the Senate Majority Whip and the House Majority leader, Democrats by the way.)

Here's the galling part of the story:

Andrew Schneider, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union [link to ACLU website removed] of West Virginia, said English-only laws are based on the false premise that immigrants will not learn English without government coercion.

"And English-only laws do nothing constructive to increase English proficiency. They simply discriminate and punish those who have not yet learned English," Schneider said.

Meanwhile, Ed Crane, President of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, responded to Mr. Schneider's argument: "West Virginia's decision to make English its official language has very little to do with increasing English proficiency but rather saving West Virginians money by reducing costs of creating and printing every government document in multiple languages. Regardless, multiple studies have shown that immersion in English does produce greater English proficiency for non-native speakers."

Whoops, I made that last paragraph up. The AP story ends with Mr. ACLU guy's opinion and no one else's. No doubt, Mr. AP reporter has Mr. ACLU guy on speed dial ready for a quote on any political story of the day, but has apparently not discovered that there are other opinions - and other well-known, well-funded, and well-respected advocacy groups out there who are not ultra-left wackos.


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