Have you noticed?  Newspapers and television channels across the land have discovered a new kind of human-interest story: the business-owning, family-man illegal immigrant who gets deported after living in this country for decades as a productive noncitizen.  CNN’s website headlined the story of one Joel Colindres, “This is the face of deportation: A dad with no criminal record, an American wife and two kids.”

NBC News and the Washington Post were among the outlets that spotlighted the case of Andres Magana Ortiz, father of three and owner of a prosperous coffee farm on Hawaii, who was compelled to return to his native Mexico after 28 years living in the U.S.  (The Post at least acknowledged that Magana Ortiz was not a victim of Trump—the Department of Homeland Security had been seeking to deport him since 2011.)

The Wall Street Journal told the tale of Roberto Beristain under the generic headline “Immigrant Who Helped Build a Business Faces Deportation.”  Beristain also received attention from CBS’s 60 Minutes, while CNN played up the angle that Beristain’s wife had voted for Trump last November.

Then there was Armando Paez of Elk hart, Indiana, whom the Chicago Tribune described as “a Colombian immigrant who has been in the U.S. for 18 years” but is now “scheduled for deportation . . . This was a man who juggled jobs and worked 18-hour days to provide for a family he rarely saw.”

Any American might rightly feel sympathy for these men and their families.  But there’s a reason justice is blind.  The law applies to family men just as it does to Lotharios.  It applies to the industrious just as it does to the slothful.  And it applies to the sympathetic lawbreaker just as it does to the most unsympathetic.  But curiously enough, unsympathetic deportees don’t receive as much media attention.  Just try to imagine CNN labeling the story of an illegal immigrant who drunkenly runs down a young mother, “This is the face of deportation.”

Or try to image a similar spate of these stories running during a Democratic administration.  Immigration enforcement does continue under a president like Barack Obama, after all, and presumably a similar proportion of deportees are nice people.  Once in a while, one of these stories might well run during a Democrat’s term.  But in general, for the media the problem just doesn’t exists when the right team is in office.

The bias on display here is obvious yet all too easily rationalized away by the editors and producers who assign these stories.  After all, these dramatic accounts are as newsworthy as any human-interest story can be, and they do relate to a great national discussion.  But they present a misleading, partial picture of illegal immigration and deportation.  They are examples of bias by editorial selection—and, in many instances, of more obvious kinds of bias as well.

The effect of such sentimental manipulation is not entirely what the manipulators may intend, however.  Readers and viewers frustrated by coverage that is reliably slanted in the direction of supporting mass immigration respond by tuning out mainstream news outlets and taking a more favorable view of populists who identify the media as a political enemy.  The cost of bias is a loss of legitimacy among the public—which predictably gets spun by the media themselves as really the fault of the internet for making “fake news” available to yokels who just want to read stories with which they already agree.

A pot is calling a kettle black here.  The appetite of the mainstream media for news that does not fit with editors’ and producers’ broadly liberal preconceived views can be gauged by what they publish and broadcast.  Proponents of immigration restriction are notably sparse even on op-ed pages, where the conservative quota is typically filled by purveyors of values-mush and right-wing Wilsonianism.  And these writers themselves—such as Bret Stephens, now of the New York Times—are considered very nearly beyond the pale.

The effect of newsroom bias and the epistemic closure of the op-ed page is paradoxical.  It does not lead to a milder popular conservatism that takes its cues from a Bret Stephens or a Peter Wehner.  Instead, it entirely shuts out any prospect of a popular center-right—that is, a center-right that takes immigration restriction seriously and challenges the globalism that so much of the public has come to distrust.  The monopoly over acceptable opinion exercised by immigration enthusiasts actually radicalizes the debate by depriving it of a middle position.  The upshot is that the only practical choices Americans are left with are, in effect, Trump or the CNN newsroom.  And to the surprise of the newsroom, Americans chose Trump.  The subtle intolerance of our land’s ludicrously parochial cosmopolitans has backfired.  The gatekeepers of public expression would be doing themselves—not to mention the rest of us—a favor if they could bring themselves to recognize this.