Archived: Arizona Gets it Dose of ‘Death by Media’


In my March 2008 published article titled “Death by Media,” I called attention to how the US press had literally scared the pants out of people visiting Baja California with emphasis on Tijuana. The reports that visitors to Baja were in danger were tremendously exaggerated and overly dramatized, but succeeded nonetheless in killing tourism to the region.

Now Arizona is getting a dose of the same medicine, but in their case, it’s self-promoted. Possibly not realizing that, as a professor of communications at Arizona State University commented, “There is an attraction to conflict, and this is an issue that has captured the national attention,” Arizona is now feeling the full weight of that attraction.

The Arizona state legislature passed and the governor signed SB-1070 on the grounds that crimes committed by illegal immigrants were rampant. In May, U.S. Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain wrote a widely published open letter to President Barack Obama, in part saying, “Many Arizonans do not feel safe within their own homes or on their own property. They feel that they live in a lawless area of the country and have been abandoned by the federal government.”

Arizona congressmen Gabrielle Giffords and John Shadegg also sent Obama a letter asking for National Guard troops to be deployed to the border because “violence in the vicinity of the U.S./Mexico border continues to increase at an alarming rate.”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer got into the act on Fox News, telling a national audience that “Arizona cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, everything from the crime and to the drugs and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings.” And for greater emphasis, she added that illegal immigrants were drug smugglers not job seekers and responsible for much mayhem.

The state’s leadership gave the impression that Arizona is caught up in rampant, non-stop crime. Just like in Baja California, tourism to Arizona has taken a huge hit, and just like Tijuana, Phoenix is suffering the most from the lack of tourism.

The self-created perception of high crime, like in Baja California, looms out of proportion to the actual reality of the situation. But once the worst is imbedded in the minds of people, removing the negative perception can become a gargantuan task. Potential visitors to the state and its many cities don’t want to get caught in the crossfire of real or perceived violence.

And just like it’s been done to Mexico and Baja, comedians are having a field day. Stephen Colbert: “Arizona police officers will taser anyone using the word ‘chipotle.’” Jay Leno: “Rich Arizonians will now have to start raising their own children.” Latino comedians: “Arizona is the new boogie man; Mexican-American moms are telling their kids that if they don’t behave she will send them to Arizona.” And so it goes.

And worse still for Arizona, they continue to dig themselves deeper into the hole of fear and anger. Now their elected officials have decided to go after the children of the undocumented, and deny any child born of an illegal immigrant mother birthright citizenship.

The sponsors have yet to explain how this new attack on children will cure their self-promoted “Arizona is being over run by crime” image. Are babies still in the womb already criminals? Do they at birth begin their criminal careers?

Standing in the way of being able to carry out this new rather silly endeavor is of course the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which provides citizenship to anyone born in U.S. jurisdictional land (foreign embassy compounds are not within US jurisdictional land).

This new ill-conceived, anti-babies rhetoric, coupled with SB-1070 is causing quite a stir, leading to visitors’ boycott of Arizona, negative international press, convention and event cancellations and threats of economic reprisals are already in effect. So Arizonians will now live the same Death by Media that Baja and Mexico have. And they will find it takes a long time to right the ship and “racist” labels sticks for a long, long time.

Despite the problems Baja California is experiencing, the one thing that is not present are local attacks on babies born to American women while in Mexico. The baby will be a Mexican citizen and when registered with a U.S. consulate in Mexico, the child will be a US citizen enjoying dual citizenship.

Maybe in time those dual citizens will manage to bring peace and understanding to both sides of the border, even in Arizona.

Patrick Osio is editor of ( He can be reached at

Posted - Copyright © 2022 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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  1. I am disappointed at your slanted article on Arizona. You took real truth and used it in a half truth manner.

    The borders of Arizona, like most other border states, are being overran by illegals. We support the legal channel and the rule of law. By ICE figures alone, which are only a fraction of the actual numbers, there is a infusion of 17% felony criminals crossing to the US every year. That amounts to 360,000 of new felony criminals into the AZ corridor each year! When you consideer a 10 year period, this is substancial and a huge burden on our police, justice system and loss of privacy and safety! Yes, they are going shopping in AZ, via theft, not the traditional shopping center. When you consider the burden on our hospitals and the cost we, the taxpayers, must pay, this is a health and safety issue! A County Hospital in Phoenix, which has traditionally supported the poor, has had to close due to the high costs, which then transfers the costs to traditional hospitals and the regular taxpayer must pay the cost. We are a generous people and there is little praise for our generosity!

    Why should you attack the people and legislature of Arizona when the same priviledges are not available to people who are trying to enter Mexico? What countries offer or allow any of the priviledges you are championing that Arizona(USA) and other border states should allow?

    Drugs, human smuggling, kidnapping and lawlessness has infected Mexico and is being imported to America. We love and embrace our long spanish heritage in the southwest and the Mexican people, however, the lawlessness and criminal element is not a healthy additiion to our society.

    You should ask yourself…why would someone (Illegals) want to leave Mexico so bady that they…
    * Risk dying in the hot desert
    * Kidnapping by Mexican Coyotes
    * Be forced to smuggle drugs across the border
    * Face imprisionment?????

    Let’s be more compassionate and have Mexico work on their problems on their end and have the US work on their problems for the benefit of all legal citizens no matter where they come from.

    You definately have a right to speak your mind, because you are in America, and so do I…let’s be more respectful and have our countries and elected officials on both sides work toward a common good for the citizens, rich and poor on both sides.

  2. Ridiculous!
    The Mexicans that go to Arizona, are only going to shop, and they are only from the states of Sonora (most) and Sinaloa.
    That will be momentarily, until they realized that the best deals for the pockets are in the USA.
    In the long run it is a victory for Arizona, and for the final change on immigration reform, which will not be amnesty. Also watch how other states with immigration problems, will join Arizona’s proposition.

    The true facts or these problems are only known for the ones we live on the border.

  3. Ramon Sombrero on

    It seems the travel boycott is having some effect on the Arizona hotel industry.
    These numbers are based on a comparison over 2009 the worst year ever for Arizona.

    “Among the Top 25 Markets, ALL BUT ONE market reported occupancy increases and 8 top markets reported double-digit increases.”

    “Phoenix, Arizona, posted the only occupancy decrease, falling 1.4 percent to 43.6 percent. Phoenix posted the largest revenue per available room decrease, falling 4.2 percent to US$31.91.”


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