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A Tale of Two Perspectives

While reading a story on the front page of the Chicago Tribune yesterday (2-7-11) I began to think about the different ways the story might have been written. The same story could be "spun" from at least two different viewpoints.

So I thought maybe I would write it differently than the way the paper wrote it to see what it looked like from a different perspective.

My story is about a great country, with generous people who save the life of a hard working twenty year old foreigner and are able to eventually stabilize him even though he has suffered catastrophic injuries in a fall.

The man, who snuck into the country illegally in order to find work to support his poverty stricken common law wife and child has become a quadriplegic and will never be able to resume a normal life.

Even though the man is penniless and has no insurance, the hospital where he was taken spent six hundred and fifty thousand dollars to care for him for four months. If he had suffered the same accident in his home country he probably wouldn't have lived.

And yet, without any family here, total strangers looked after him at every step. Some of those who gave him emotional support were from his home country. Finally, after looking in vain for a long term facility that had the means to care for him indefinitely, the man was returned to his own country at no cost to him, or even to his country. The monetary cost for that service was sixty thousand dollars. The story at once lifts your heart, even while tearing it out.

While the Tribune writers provided the same facts I just used, the story didn't read the same way.

The lead-in headline (in bold) was;
"They threw him out like he was a piece of garbage" as it quoted Horatio Esparza, a disability rights advocate. (Perhaps Horatio spends $710,000 and four months of his time on his garbage before he throws it out.)

The actual headline read;
Seriously injured, abruptly deported.

The story went on to describe how the man was sent back to his own country without his permission. (This struck me as somewhat odd since no such permission is sought from uninjured illegal aliens.) It also went into detail about his family back in Mexico and the small town where he lived before he came here. Every such description of life in third world countries truly touches the hearts of all but the most callous.

Although I do not count myself among the calloused, I won't be surprised if I am added to that list by some folks for even suggesting that some anti-American, anti-private business bias might be evident in the Tribune story. Who knows, maybe the authors were just going for the most sensational headline they could muster up in the great tradition of news reporting.

As a non professional blog writer, not a trained reporter and journalist like the three authors who contributed to the story I can only speculate as to their motives. But I know this, it's only the other fellow who has biases, never ourselves.

The only copy of the story I can find online is a much abridged version (dated 2-6-11) which you can find here. You will have to decide for yourself what to think about what happened.

This man deserves our prayers, not an eagerness to make him a political football in the controversy over immigration reform. That's my perspective, or spin, if you would prefer that description.


Wolfgang Sheehy said...

I canceled my subscription to the Chicago Tribune the Monday after they endorsed the Narcissist in Chief, prior to the '08 election. That was about 5 years too late. When they dumped Bill Barnhart the only thing worth reading was Hagar the Horrible and Ask Amy. It's never to late to send them a message.

HWMIA said...

The Trib backed Blaggo for his second term. That's when I knew the editorial page now goes from front to back.

Grant Davies said...

I agree, I have been saying the same thing for years, most of the news is on the OP ed page and the opinions are to be found everywhere else. And unfortunately it's not just that way at the Trib.
It's everywhere.

These folks all graduated with the same "journalism" degrees.

The Trib has now backed Rahmbo as well. That makes it a trifecta. Rahm, Blaggo and Geo Ryan.

The people always get what they deserve.