Specifically, this has to do with accusations of “lack of research”. (No, not against me; I’ve been gone too much lately to have garnered many of those complaints recently. Plus, I usually cite my research.)
I used to find columnist Leonard Pitts interesting, if sometimes directly at odds with how I view the world. He was one of those people on the editorial page that, even when you completely disagreed with his conclusion, you at least found the column somehow useful or enlightening. Lately, that’s not been the case.
The most recent column of Pitts’ that our local paper ran was the one about the wild, false claims made by Fox News. Pitts specifically cited Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck. Now, I don’t always catch O’Reilly and Hannity, but I almost always watch Beck nowadays, so I was curious what the accusation against him was.
Says Pitts in his Oct 6 column:
June 10 — Glenn Beck asks, “Why do we have automatic citizenship upon birth? We’re the only country in the world that has it.”
This is incorrect. Canada has it, as do 32 other nations.
Hmm. I wonder what the other countries are that allegedly have our automatic-citizenship-by-birth rules? Pitts didn’t say, and I have limited time tonight to try to guess what he meant, so we’ll just focus on Canada, which Pitts specifically claims has the same citizenship rules.
It took me precisely 30 seconds to find an answer, at the genealogy site The Ship’s List:
“Child” will not acquire Canadian citizenship if, as provided by Section 5(2) C.C.A. at the time of the child’s birth, his responsible parent (See appendix 2, Definitions):
(a) is an alien who has not been lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence; and
• (i) a foreign diplomatic or consular officer or a representative of a foreign government accredited to Her Majesty,
• (ii) an employee of a foreign government attached to or in the service of a foreign diplomatic mission or consulate in Canada, or
• (iii) an employee in the service of a person referred to in subparagraph (i).
In other words, in Canada, simply being born on Canadian soil is not quite enough to confer citizenship.
- Children of foreign diplomats (or their foreign staff) do not get citizenship.
- Children of people in the country illegally do not get citizenship.
- Children of people who are not in Canada for the purposes of permanent residence do not get citizenship (this would seem to cover tourists, anyone on a temporary work/student visa, etc.).
Well, darn it all, American legal interpretation has dictated that any child born on U.S. soil is a citizen, regardless of the citizenship or even legal/illegal presence in the U.S. of the parent.
In the U.S., a child born this side of the border to a woman who cut through the U.S. border fence and entered this country illegally is a citizen. In Canada, under the same circumstances, the child would not gain Canadian citizenship. Thus, U.S. and Canadian laws on citizenship are not the same. Somehow, I doubt the other 32 nations Pitts claims have the same policy as the U.S. actually have the same illogical, crime-rewarding policies we do on citizenship.
So, in a column complaining that Fox News can’t get its facts straight, Pitts, a famous, respected, Pulitzer-winning journalist who probably has a research staff or at least a few hours to do his own research, can’t get his facts straight. And some former-naval officer housewife with a tiny blog taking time off of working on a quilt and planning tomorrow’s homeschooling debunked his smug dismissal of Beck in under a minute.
Next, unfortunately, the question becomes: Pitts can’t or won’t get his facts right? Couldn’t he honestly say something like, “Ok, we are the only country with that exact interpretation, but that makes us morally superior, Beck, so pick on something else”? As I pointed out, he has a lot more time on his hands to fact check and he won a Pulitzer; I have to assume he can get his facts straight. Has journalistic professionalism been ground into the dirt by the desire to obliterate anyone who might dare question President Obama?
Pitts also complained that Beck lied about Obama’s health care plans. Sojourners, a group of concerned Christians, said that Beck was wrong, so let’s trot out the tired old, “Hey, the Bible says ‘don’t lie’ and I say you’re lying, so you’re a hypocrite! I will now yell HYPOCRITE loudly until you go away!”
Never mind that Sojourners, to put it mildly, leans left; they’re the kind of group that was trotted out at the faith-based health care conference to support the President’s health care plans and try to imply that other faith groups were just too stodgy, short-sighted, and addicted to the GOP to really care about the uninsured. Sojourners’ website prominently features a section on calling Beck to account: “Tell Glenn Beck that health-care reform is consistently pro-life, and that you’re praying for him (and his advertisers) to choose hope over fear.” (In other words, “Who cares if the amendments specifically prohibiting government funding of abortions failed? Can’t you just take the government at its word?” Um, no, not generally; with the government, I want it in writing.)
Thanks for the reminder, y’all; I should remember to pray for Mr. Beck more often. Maybe not quite in the way Sojourners and Pitts would like, though.