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Our View: Being responsible is our agenda

Posted: February 13, 2010 4:37 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
If nothing else, working in the news business quickly teaches one to develop a thick skin. We've gotten used to name-calling, accusations and death threats - and we don't obsess too much over them, because it comes with the territory.

But every once in a while it's appropriate for us to set the record straight.

Over the past week, our newsroom has fielded complaints over the front-page Feb. 7 story about a local day laborer who is an illegal immigrant.

We've been accused of trying to generate sympathy for law-breakers. One letter-writer called the story a "pile of propaganda." Some have leveled a charge we've faced before: The Signal has an agenda.

To that last one we respond: "Yes. We do."

Our agenda as the newspaper of local record is to do the best job we can in objectively covering all sides of a controversial issue.

A month ago, City Councilman Bob Kellar's now-infamous speech at a rally against illegal immigration provided the spark for what has become a wildfire of public opinion - some of which has been eloquent and thought-provoking, and some of which has been vitriolic and mean-spirited.

It was our responsibility to interview Kellar and his fellow council members about his speech. It was our responsibility to be at City Hall when activists on both sides of the immigration debate showed up, signs in hand and rhetoric on lips.

And in all this talk about the difference between what Kellar said and what he meant, and the problems caused by illegal immigration, it was incumbent upon us to find and interview someone at the heart of this controversy - an illegal immigrant.

Judging by the responses we've received, there are those who would prefer we ignored that facet of the story, that we not actually talk to those who are the subject of the controversy, and instead stick to reporting on complaints about illegal immigration.

We disagree.

Let the record state: We believe illegal immigration has wreaked havoc on our state and our country. We believe our state and nation should enforce its laws. We believe meaningful dialogue needs to take place and decisions made about how to rectify the problem.

But at the end of the day, the responsibility is ours to report as many sides of a news story as we can find. It's our job to put the issues on the table.

As for the legitimacy of the various sides of those issues, we leave it to our readers to decide.

If making an effort to provide complete coverage of an issue and let the reader form an opinion makes us bleeding-heart liberals, then we're proud bleeding-heart liberals.

This is a story that is far from over. Expect continued coverage of the issues created by illegal immigration and its impact on the Santa Clarita Valley.

Furthermore, we invite readers to send letters to the editor and tell us their perspectives on the issue.

That's what we're here for.

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