Erbe fires back at SPLC, defends immigration coverage

By Andrew Lapin

To the Contrary host Bonnie Erbe responded to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s critique of her immigration reporting, calling it “a partisan distortion (to put it diplomatically) of my views.” In a June 9 blog post on the PBS show’s website, she also defended her decision to accept an award from a conservative think tank that advocates for stricter immigration policies.

On June 5 the SPLC’s “Hatewatch” blog slammed Erbe for accepting the 2014 Katz Award from the Center for Immigration Studies for To the Contrary‘s coverage of birth tourism. Erbe also cited CIS studies on her program, according to SPLC blogger David Neiwert. In the post, he described Erbe as a “proponent of dubious claims that immigration depletes natural resources and worsens global warming.”

In her response, Erbe pointed to coverage of birth tourism and immigration’s impact on the environment by the New York Times and Scientific American, respectively, and noted that To The Contrary had broken ground in its own reporting. She submitted the story for CIS’s Katz Award among other competitions “to encourage debate about this important issue.”

“I toe no ideological nor partisan line,” Erbe said. “I have devoted my career to women’s advancement and promoting diversity in American culture. Does that make me a progressive on those issues? You might say yes. I say I pick and choose my views based on the facts and the truth.”

Erbe concluded, “I find it extremely saddening that what passes for liberalism in today’s partisan climate amounts to censorship.”

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