Two teenage girls were stopped on a side street waiting for the light to change so they could enter the main road. A car came up behind them going really fast and completely failed to even try to stop. Both girls were killed the wreck.
The man driving the car was driving drunk. They later found out that he was an illegal immigrant who'd been in the country for 7 years. And he had three previous arrests - two for public intoxication (it's illegal to be drunk in public in Virginia. So even walking on a side walk from one place to another while you've been drinking can be illegal. They use this law a lot to randomly arrest people bar hopping at the beach), and one for driving under the influence.
Apparently ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) claim that it has been a standing policy that anyone arrested for any reason at all who is not a legal resident should be reported to them so that they can investigate the person and ensure they are here legally. Virginia Beach sheriff said that as far as he was aware they were told not to report misdemeanors to ICE, but that from now on they were instituting a different policy. Now if you are asked if the US is your home country and you say "no" you will be questioned as to your status in the country. And if you are here illegally you'll be reported to ICE immediately.
Alright - all that's dandy.
Apparently Bill O'Reilly picked up this story several months ago and decided to rip into Virginia Beach over it - not just implying but out and out saying that the mayor of Va Beach had purposefully created a safe haven for illegal immigrants so that they can work in all the hotels at the strip. Which is fucking RIDICULOUS. This man knows nothing about the Va Beach hotels. They're mostly staffed by local teenagers and (oddly enough) there are groups of young Russian women who come in each summer on work visas and take over most of the hotels' cleaning duties. It's weird, but it's true. So he's blaming the city. Ignoring that what killed these girls was someone driving drunk and insisting that it wouldn't have happened at all if the dude weren't an illegal alien. Ya know because Americans never drink and drive.
But it's the way he's attacked the mayor that's really killed me. She's got an incredibly long tenure. She's female (obviously) and she's also Jewish. Not really the prototypical southern Mayor. Keep in mind - Virginia is a commonwealth and as such its laws a different than other states. It's not as different as the French provincial law Louisiana employs - but it is markedly differently. The role the mayor plays in Va Beach isn't the standard of what mayors do. She's more or less the public face/figurehead of the city council.
These are snippets from a Virginian Pilot article about the whole thing:
"He has labeled her "limited in her intellectual capacity" and suggested that Oberndorf stay home in the kitchen rather than try to run the state's largest city...
"The bottom line on this," he said on his April 5 show, "is that all Americans have a right to protection from irresponsible people, but our governments generally have bowed to political correctness and are failing to protect us. We're going to make Virginia Beach the flash point in stopping the immigration madness. No more sanctuary cities. Period."
The next day on his radio program he said Oberndorf "should be home baking pies. This is not a woman who has any grasp of public policy."
O'Reilly was still attending a private Catholic high school on Long Island in 1966 when Oberndorf began her public life, with an appointment to the Library Board.
After graduating from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., O'Reilly taught high school in Florida for two years then went back for a master's degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University.
He was just beginning as a television journalist - in Scranton, Pa., then moving to Dallas, Denver, Portland and Hartford - when Oberndorf was elected to the City Council, and she became vice mayor in 1986, the year O'Reilly joined the ABC network as a correspondent.
In 1988 - a year before O'Reilly took over as anchor of "Inside Edition" - Oberndorf became the city's first directly elected mayor. These days she serves on the executive committee of the United States Conference of Mayors, leading its International Affairs Committee.
She doesn't figure to retire to pie baking any time soon. "I burn most things," she said Friday. "I'll put it on the burner, and then the phone rings.... "
The belittling of Oberndorf is not surprising to those who keep track of O'Reilly's polemic techniques.
"He's mostly a name-caller," said Betsi Grabe, a telecommunications professor at Indiana University who co-authored a study of the segment that opens each "The O'Reilly Factor" show: his "Talking Points Memo."
"The other thing that O'Reilly does is he really plays the fear card," she said. "He really likes to frame issues as fearful, as life- threatening."
The 27-page study was published this month in Cardiff University of Wales' magazine "Journalism Studies." It is titled "Villains, Victims and The Virtuous in Bill O'Reilly's 'No Spin Zone,' Revisiting world war propaganda techniques. "
The academics analyzed six months of talking points and discovered he resorted to name-calling nearly nine times every minute.
Grabe said they went back to methods used by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis to measure broadcast techniques in the 1930s, "dusted them off a bit and then we applied them to O'Reilly, and we found that he has more incidents of propaganda per minute than some of the folks who were investigated in the '30s and '40s."
Grabe, a former South African broadcast journalist, said she had been following the Virginia Beach dust-up and wasn't surprised it captured O'Reilly's attention.
Illegal aliens narrowly trailed only terrorists on O'Reilly's list of evildoers, she said.
"He covers illegal immigrants very often," she said from her home in Bloomington, Ind., "and in a superbly negative light... He talks about them as terrorists."
Co-author Mike Conway, also a former broadcast journalist, agreed. Illegal aliens, he said, "are about as bad or evil as it gets" in O'Reilly's world view.
O'Reilly's attention focused on Virginia Beach after Alison Kunhardt, 17, and Tessa Tranchant, 16, were killed March 30.
Alfredo Ramos, 22, was charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter after the crash. Ramos, who police said was intoxicated at the time of the wreck, had three previous alcohol-related misdemeanor convictions in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.
His immigration status was not checked then. A 2005 Police Department policy in Virginia Beach generally forbids asking the immigration status of defendants charged with misdemeanors. Police Chief Jake Jacocks Jr. has said the policy encourages illegal immigrants to report crimes without fear of retribution.
Beginning with his show April 4, O'Reilly has hammered at Oberndorf and Virginia Beach, eventually charging that it was a "sanctuary city" where illegal aliens are not only tolerated but welcomed, the better to keep Oceanfront businesses staffed.
He called for Oberndorf and Jacocks to resign.
"There's no question in Virginia Beach that the mayor is clueless," he said during his April 6 "Radio Factor" broadcast, adding later: "And the police chief is an arrogant incompetent. Alright, now, if you elect these people, that's what you're gonna get. Dead girls."
He never made clear to his audience that, in Virginia Beach, the mayor's post is largely symbolic, with no more power than any other council member.
O'Reilly, who grew up and still lives on Long Island, did not note that, unlike in New York City, mayors in Hampton Roads do not run their cities - the city managers do. City managers and their police chiefs may not be fired by area mayors, only by a majority of a city council.
The omissions are classic O'Reilly, according to Karl Vincent Frisch, spokesperson for Media Matters for America. "He doesn't take into account the facts - that's all too common with Bill O'Reilly."
Oberndorf said she worries that O'Reilly's campaign will wind up hurting innocent, law-abiding Hispanics. As a little girl hearing her parents whisper about Hitler and his death camps and later reading Anne Frank's diary, she wondered how one human being's rants could convince people to ignore the human dignity of an entire class of people. She has a better understanding now, she said.
"Once a person has a microphone, a camera and a limitless budget, they can get into everybody's home."
So how is she dealing with the unwanted attention?
"It takes a lot of stamina and a great deal of commitment," but she said she doesn't intend to back down or to get into any televised debates with O'Reilly.
"It's like flying an airplane over a roaring fire, and instead of dropping the chemicals that put it out, you drop an inflammable, like gasoline," she said of his tactics.
"I understand that's his right. I can't react as irresponsibly as he has."
The Virginia Beach issue spawned a heated debate with Geraldo Rivera, who argued on "The Factor" that the case was about drunken driving, not illegal immigration, and who came to Oberndorf's defense.
"I think you owe that poor lady mayor an apology," Rivera said.
"No, no," O'Reilly replied.
It's hard to make me defensive about my home town. There's a REASON I moved away. But this worthless shit bag (and all his little followers) are so far out of line.