There are some popular misconceptions about the business of foreign correspondents, most often depicted as brave and questing souls determined to serve truths to their home audiences. Fairfax Media’s Paul McGeough is a foreign correspondent and a story beneath his byline rather makes the point that anyone capable of cutting and pasting can do it. Here he is describing a Donald Trump rally in New York:
An anti-immigration extremist, Trump provocatively took his rhetoric to Patchogue, on Long Island. On Thursday evening he attended a fundraiser at a night club just blocks from where an Ecuadorian immigrant was knifed to death eight years ago by a gang of white teenagers
Now see how easy it is to be a foreign correspondent. You just borrow the bare bones from the New York Times (below) and slip in your own editorialising, which in the quote above has been underlined:
The event will be held at a nightclub down the street from where Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant, was fatally stabbed by a gang of teenagers eight years ago
See, being a foreign correspondent is a piece of cake — although there can be pitfalls for the unwary or, in this case, someone who has an agenda to push and doesn’t check his facts. What would Australian readers know of a crime in far-away Long Island? Now look at the photo atop this post. It is five of the Long Island thugs who killed Lucero being led into custody.
Notice the youth fifth in line? His name is Jose Pecheco, and not only is he every bit as Hispanic as the slain Lucero, he is darker-skinned to boot. But, according to McGeough, Pecheco is white. And the second youth in line? Well he appears to be of Asian background.
Of course, the matter of undocumented aliens in the US is a bit more complicated than an indolent foreign correspondent would have his far-off audience believe. If only McGeough had not been quite so content to push stereotypes of racist whites killing foreigners, he might also have summarised the Atlantic report available via the link below. Then again, probably not. Why let mere facts spoil your own and your readers’ preconceptions?