On Wednesday the Times fronted a profile of Suffolk County Executive (and Democrat) Steve Levy, who has made a local name in Hauppauge, N.Y., a Long Island hamlet, with his vocal opposition to illegal immigration. Reporter Paul Vitello quickly set a negative tone.
"If politicians can be said to have relationships with issues, Mr. Levy's relationship with illegal immigration seems resentful yet clinging.
"He complains that immigration detracts from his local accomplishments.
"Yet he injects himself into the issue often and aggressively enough to have become almost as familiar to the national audiences of action-figure conservative commentators like Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs as he is to viewers of News 12 Long Island."
There was a veiled suggestion of conservatives as race-conscious busy-bodies: "In some ways, Mr. Levy has emerged as a leader of a new breed of Democrats, who represent suburban areas that once were dominated by Republicans and remain socially conservative, particularly on questions of who lives next door."
Again the Times portrayed opposition to illegal immigration as simplistic instead of a straightforward insistence on obeying the law: "As the latest efforts to revamp immigration laws in Congress have disintegrated in a debate displaying a dozen shades of gray, Mr. Levy has held to a black-and-white assertion: Illegal immigration is illegal, and should be punished....At his most strident, Mr. Levy warns that the country's 'open borders' are an invitation to 'Fort Dix terrorists,' a reference to the six foreign-born men, three of them with expired visas, who were charged in May with plotting to attack an Army base in New Jersey.
Contrast Levy's "strident" treatment with that of a nearby New York village with a supposedly kinder, gentler approach to illegals. Wednesday's lead Metro story by Fernanda Santos in Mamaroneck, N.Y., a village which, according to the headline, "...Takes a More Hospitable Approach to Day Laborers." (The town has begun a church-sponsored mission where illegal immigrant day laborers can be hired by contractors.)