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The Washington Post
America's tranquil border

Immigration sceptics are fond of portraying the US's southwestern border with Mexico as "a sort of Spanish-accented version of Pakistan's tribal areas", begins an opinion piece in The Washington Post titled 'America's tranquil border'. "It is a colourful narrative" designed to scare Americans and prevent debates on the reform of the "broken" immigration system. This, the writer says, is a "fairy tale" because illegal border crossings by Mexicans have fallen to their lowest in years and are expected to fall further. Why has "demand" fallen? The answer doesn't lie entirely in tougher state laws on illegal immigration or the presence of 17,700 Border Patrol agents or even America's "anaemic economy". The answer lies in the economic, demographic and policy shifts in Mexico itself. Sharply dwindling Mexican fertility rates have shrunk the number of job seekers, while increasing family incomes are incentives for Mexicans to stay at home and rising educational levels are also broadening opportunities at home.

The New Yorker
Bad Press

Nicholas Lemann calls journalists the "most puzzling creatures in the world" , for they adore "The Front Page" and "Scoop," which present them as "lazy, unprincipled, and hopelessly in thrall to bogus information". He then proceeds to ask, "Are journalists lovable rogues or human-rights crusaders? Or people who have granted themselves the right to switch between these two identities on a whim?" He examines this in the context of the scandal that has enveloped the News of the World and brings forth two issues that journalists have to grapple with: first, whether the phone-hacking scandal "represents a notably egregious type of press misbehaviour, rather than the usual naughtiness"; and second, whether getting the big story by violating boundaries of decent behaviour actually has "a redemptive public-interest aspect". In the first case, the answer is an unqualified "yes". For "all their gruff cynicism, as a force for good in society", 'Front Page' journalists should be "exposing bribery, not engaging in it, and helping to exonerate the falsely accused, not sullying the innocent." Lemann concludes that "a press pass is not a moral unlimited-ride card". It should be a good thing if the scandal caused journalists to introspect.

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