Media Blackout of Minuteman Extremists

brisenia The picture you see to the left is that of a beautiful child named Brisenia Flores. She beams an awkward little smile for the photographer that is common in chidren of that age, and she reminds me very much of my own five year old daughter (whose last name, by sheer coincidence, is also Flores). But unlike my daughter, Brisenia will never again flash that beautiful smile to a photographer or anyone else for that matter. That is because on March 30 of this year Brisenia, who was nine at the time, was murdered by members of a Right-wing terrorist, anti-immigrant, paramilitary group called the Minutemen American Defense, a group with ties to the larger Minutemen paramilitary vigilante organization that patrols the U.S. border on a self proclaimed mission to halt illegal immigration into this nation. This is how the blog Crooks and Liars describes the 9/11 tape of the call that Brisenia’s mother placed on the night of the shooting:

She explains that the killers walked up cold-bloodedly to her daughter, 9-year-old Brisenia Flores, as she cowered and cried, and shot her two or three times anyway.

Stinquers will forgive me for relying on that blog’s description, but I have not been able to bring myself to listen to the tape. As I said, I have a daughter who is probably the same age as Brisenia was when the above picture was taken and I don’t think I could bear to live her mother’s experience even voeyeuristically.

If Brisenia had been a white child, murdered by a domestic Islamic terrorist organization, one can imagine that coverage of the crime would dominate Fox News  for multiple news cycles. Don’t believe me? Then recall Bill O’Reilly’s misplaced outrage at CNN for supposedly failing to cover the murder of a U.S. serviceman by a lone Moslem extremist with no known connection to any larger group:

O’Reilly had to retract his charges, lamely explainig that he was referring to CNN’s “Prime Time” coverage, not the network’s coverage trhoughout the day.

So, how does Fox News stack up when it comes to covering the murder by a Right-wing, nativist, terrorist network, of  a very young Chicano child? The answer is not very well. Indeed, going by the Fox News website, there has been a virtual blackout of the story by that network. A search of the site reveals only one story that mentions Brisenia (one receives similar results when running searches on the various players in the murder). And that story itself is  interesting mainly for what it does not say about the crime. For one thing, it is an AP Story, not one that Fox had its reporters cover directly. In addition, the story hardly makes any mention of the criminals’ connection to the right-wing anti immigrant movement in America, and makes no mention at all to the group’s name or its founder’s close ties to the broader Minuteman Militia. Inf act, this is all it says about the group and its activities:

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department last week arrested a woman and two men in connection with the attack. The suspects are members of a small anti-illegal immigration group that sought cash or drugs to fund border watch operations, police say.

That’s it. It would appear that there are facts about this case that Roger Ailes doesn’t think Fox News readers need to concern themselves with. But if you think Fox News is the sole problem here, think again. In fact, Fox fares better in its coverage than eiether CNN or the New York Times, which, judging by searches performed on their websites, have not covered the story at all!

This is not to say that the mainstream media have been completely derelict in their coverage of young Brisenia’s tragic death, as a quick google search reveals. But the fact that many of the nation’s most prominent news outlets seem largely indifferent to the crime (Only two mentions on MSNBC, for instance) speaks volumes about the way our national priorities are set and skewed, about who has a voice in this nation, and who does not.

Serolf Divad wishes he didn’t have to write this story. Now he has to wipe the tears fom his eyes.

32 Comments

Well done Mr. Serolf. You made me cry.

Oh, to Fox News, these people are GOP stalwarts and the pride of America, decent folks who just got a little too passionate about their vocation.

I listened to the call. It was not easy. And thankfully, TPM is all over this.

To give a sense of how little most people seem to care about this story, just five minutes ago I managed to buy the domain names briseniaflores.com and briseniaflores.org. In the next few days I plan on putting up a memorial site to brisenia as well as a site dedicated to tracking anti-immigrant hysteria in the U.S.

@Serolf Divad:

Hear here!

As a literal child of the counter-culture movement of the sixties- Mom and Dad were damn buggy hippies back in the day- I always am amazed at how our country got here from there. I was raised on “Free To Be You And Me” (let me tell you, it made this William feel a lot more comfortable about wanting a doll), and I’m stunned, really stunned, that we are still dealing with this kind of hate and violence so early in this new century.

After reading it first here at Stinque, I did hear coverage on NPR’s ATC, which played just a few seconds of the 911 call. If the mother hadn’t had a pistol and hadn’t shot at the intruders, she’d be dead too, and it all would have been written off to drug-gang-related violence and “what can you really expect from these people, look at the violence they’re bringing to our neighborhoods.” It makes me ill. Sometimes I really wish I didn’t oppose the death penalty.

@Serolf Divad: Give a shout when you’ve got this set up. There’s a decent sized group of pissed off Pennsyltuckians ready to mobilize after the beating death of the Mexican immigrant in Shenandoah (and the wrist slap his teen killers got).

@Serolf Divad: That is brilliant of you. Her poor mother …

@Serolf Divad: @Nabisco: I second the request that you let us know when you’re taking it live. I know some folks who work in the immigrants’ rights world who are outraged about the Minutemen’s activities.

@SanFranLefty: Is it possible to be sad and so goddammed angry that your eyes are nearly exploding?

@rptrcub: That’s my usual state of being, my dear cubbie.

As a student of US America history, I’m not surprised. The media in the 1920s and 30s spent a lot of time ignoring lynching of blacks and others for “crimes.”

This is an awful story, but it needs to be told.

In a sick irony, the evasions of the wingnuts are pretty similar to the ones the same wingnuts who accuse Hollywood of stoking violence thru movies.

OK, the site is now live with a placeholder page:

Brisenia Flores

@SanFranLefty:

Thanks, yeah just found at least one misspelling of the name.

@Serolf Divad:

Disturbing post. I had not heard how she was killed.

That’s great idea for the site. You may find later that a family member would like to take over.

This spate of violence is caused by every loosely-attached whacko suddenly losing all confidence in the GOP.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has become slightly inured to bad, violent news, but this story reached inside and broke something. And not just because I spent time teaching third- and fourth-graders.

Does it take the inhuman execution of a little girl to get “conservatives” to dial back the aggressive rhetoric?
I’m not holding my breath.

@Jebediah: “Does it take the inhuman execution of a little girl to get “conservatives” to dial back the aggressive rhetoric?”

Only if she has blue eyes and blond hair. And preferably was a child beauty queen.

@RZ:

You may find later that a family member would like to take over.

Yeah, right now I’m considering myself a steward of this domain. One of the reasons I quickly snatched it up when I saw it was available is because I didn’t want it falling into the wrong hands. I don’t want BriseniaFlores.com linking to an exculpatory website set up by FAIR or the Minutemen.

@Serolf Divad: It’s good you grabbed the name. The mouthbreathers probably don’t know there are other TLDs.

Here’s one possible idea why MSM isn’t covering this – they’re too busy sucking up to the Lou Dobbs crowd. For example, a SF Chronicle reporter accepting an award from an anti-immigrant group that Southern Poverty Law Center tracks as a potential hate group. Why? A series of articles stirring up hatred against undocumented youth not being summarily deported upon their arrest. Guess what happens now, in San Francisco of all places? If you’re brown, and arrested, ICE is called in even before an arraignment. We’re making Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio look positively progressive in comparison.

@SanFranLefty: Insert appropriate sting of invectives HERE. I can’t believe they’re going after the kids. They (documented and un) are going to stop going to school and to the doctor to their jobs soon…

@JNOV takes a little english to doctor the spin: Holding aside the disgustingness of the reporter taking that award, the human element is so sad. There’s a 15 year old kid who came to the U.S. when he was 1 who is getting deported after he got arrested after he was caught with a BB gun at school. [NOTE: Back in my day, we were not arrested for school fights.] Even the reporter admitted when he got the award that people who are arrested by mistake are getting deported because they are being picked up by ICE hours after the arrest. And not to mention that it means that calls to the cops for robberies, burglaries, rapes, DV, etc. in our immigrant communities are just plummeting.

@SanFranLefty: My friend [ ] has some funny stories about his three attempts to cross involving tacos and broken down bicycles.

@redmanlaw: On a much lighter note, last night I watched the episode of Weeds where Andy and Doug decide to become coyotes. When Andy passes around the matzoh to feed the Mexicans on the crossing, I sprayed water out my nose.

Bob Quasius of Somos Republicans just wrote an informative opinion piece about this very issue: how the violence in Arizona is going largely unnoticed by the national media and how it might affect individual State’s immigration policies.

@Serolf Divad: I hope you read this seeing how it has been 3 years or so since you have update your Brisenia Flores website. I stumble on it and that is how I found this information. The website is brilliant way to keep up with illegal-immigration info and to learn about this crime. I was about to promote the website when I realized it has not been updated. I was wondering if you needed someone to keep it updated for you, please contact me, I am a college student and would do it just as a hobbie! Thanks

@Michael Lugo: I will make sure that Serolf gets your message.

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