Illegal immigrant Cristhian Bahena Rivera was convicted of the first-degree murder of Mollie Tibbetts late Friday after a two-week trial in Davenport, Iowa but many media outlets are suppressing an important fact about the case.
Several outlets including CNN, AP, Daily Beast, and The New York Times seemed to try to hide the fact that Rivera is an illegal immigrant.
CNN ran the headline: “Farm worker found guilty of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.”
It wasn’t until the fifth paragraph that CNN’s report finally got around to mentioning that Rivera was an “undocumented immigrant” from Mexico.
“Farm laborer convicted in 2018 stabbing death of Iowa runner,” the Associated Press similarly wrote in its headline.
The AP report did manage to mention that Rivera “came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico as a teenager.” in the third paragraph.
However, the next paragraph read in part: “The verdict came after a two-week trial at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport, in a case that fueled public anger against illegal immigration and concerns about random violence against women,”
The AP report, perhaps out of guilt for using the forbidden word ‘illegal,’ seemed to make up for their transgression by concluding their article with a statement that appeared to vilify Republicans and former President Trump for using Tibbett’s murder in the immigration debate by stating, “Then-President Donald Trump, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and other Republicans had cited the vicious crime ahead of the 2018 midterm elections to call for harsher policies to deter illegal immigration. But their efforts eventually stopped after Tibbetts’ parents said the slaying should not be used to advance a political agenda that Tibbetts would have opposed.”
The Daily Beast headlined their report, “Iowa Farmworker Found Guilty of Murdering Mollie Tibbetts.”
In paragraph two, The Daily Beast mentions that he is a “Mexican national” but buried the fact that Rivera came to the U.S. illegally in paragraph six.
The New York Times called Rivera a “farmworker” in their headline and tweeted, “Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 26-year-old farmworker, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Friday in the killing of Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who had vanished while jogging in 2018.”
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 26-year-old farmworker, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Friday in the killing of Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who had vanished while jogging in 2018. https://t.co/91u3XNQpNl
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 28, 2021
The New York Times appeared to be hesitant to assert Rivera’s legal status at all and mentioned in paragraph four of their article that Rivera “had been described by the authorities as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.”
However, there were many responses on Twitter that caught right on to the New York Time’s language cleansing.
Farmworker? Is that code for illegal?
— Albert (@htowngator) May 29, 2021
If he was here illegally from Russia working the same job, would the #NYTimes have identified him as a “farmworker” in their headline?
— Colorado Hoff (@DerekkPara509th) May 29, 2021
Never heard this term “farmworker” in my life, until it was used to hide the fact thatbit is an illegal person on our country.
— Stan (@VintageStan) May 29, 2021
The term used to describe Rivera has been an ongoing issue.
In 2018, Rivera’s attorney filed a gag order to prevent his client from being called an ‘illegal alien.’ The gag order stated that he should only be referred to as a “documented resident,” supposedly to ensure a fair trial.
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