Sunday, February 1, 2009

Who is James Pinkerton?

James Pinkerton writes for the Houston Chronicle and other newspapers.  He also works for Fox news.  He worked in the Bush I and Reagan Administrations and was one of the main architects of the Willie Horton calamity that pushed Dukakis to lose the presidential election of  1988 - he also brought racism to the front of our national politics - by demonizing Dukakis who had instituted a furlough program  for prison inmates.  Horton, who actually went by William (Pinkerton and his colleagues changed his name to Willie to make him look more "lowdown") was furloughed and committed a violent crime soon after his release.  This of course was a tragedy, but a worse tragedy was how Pinkerton and other Republican minions blew the Horton case into a national story - pushing racial politics back a few decades or more (see "Willie Horton & Me" - link is below).

Today's NYT editorial on nativists and immigration mentions Pinkerton as one of the players.  Although some people had been telling me that the Houston Chronicle is not as right wing as it used to be, finding out who Pinkerton really is, makes me think that the Chronicle may still be in the 1950s.  It makes sense that the Houston suburbs are so strongly Republican.  What do you  expect if they are reading the work of someone like Pinkerton?

I write about Pinkerton because I see his articles from time to time, and have noted their slant to the right.  Lately he has written with Susan Carroll who also is writing such anti-immigrant fluff that some of my colleagues will no longer speak to her.  

Maybe Houston's newspaper thinks that it will continue to be solvent in these bad times by pandering to hate.  They need to be careful.  Remember what happened to so many of the Republicans in Congress.  

see "Willie Horton & Me," by Antony Walton, New York Times, August 20, 1989

see "Anti-Immigrant Electoral Campaign "The New Willie Horton" Rooted in Old Racism," -  by Roberto Novato, Huffington Post, November 7, 2007

The Nativists are Restless
New York Times
February 1, 2009

...Last week at the National Press Club in Washington, a group seeking to speak for the future of the Republican Party declared that its November defeats in Congressional races stemmed not from having been too hard on foreigners, but too soft.

The group, the American Cause, released a report arguing that anti-immigration absolutism was still the solution for the party’s deep electoral woes, actual voting results notwithstanding. Rather than “pander to pro-amnesty Hispanics and swing voters,” as President Bush and Karl Rove once tried to do, the report’s author, Marcus Epstein, urged Republicans to double down on their efforts to run on schemes to seal the border and drive immigrants out...

...What was perhaps more notable than the report itself was the team that delivered it. It included Bay Buchanan, former adviser to Representative Tom Tancredo and sister of Pat, who founded the American Cause and wrote “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.” She was joined by James Pinkerton, an essayist and Fox News contributor who, as an aide to the first President Bush, took credit for the racist Willie Horton ads run against Michael Dukakis...more

1 comment:

Mizanur Rahman said...

This is Mizanur Rahman, immigration editor at the Chronicle.

The James Pinkerton who is a reporter for the Chronicle is not the same James Pinkerton who worked for the Reagan and Bush administrations, and whom you write about here.

A simple call to the Chronicle would have cleared up this confusion. I would appreciate you writing a post that corrects this mistake.


Mizanur Rahman
Houston Chronicle