The Associated Press and the 2020 Census

I’ve already written about Tom Purcell’s column in the Gazette regarding the 2020 Census. Since then I’ve come across two articles by Mike Schneider of the Associated Press. The first was in the August 31, 2020 Gazette titled “Census politicized in election year again”. The second appeared in the September 7, 2020 Gazette titled “Census Bureau must keep counting”. These aren’t the only articles on the census that have appeared in the Gazette this year, just the most recent that I’ve found.

August 31, 2020: “Census politicized in election year again” by Mike Schneider of the Associated Press

Just the fact that a journalist at the Associated Press is writing multiple articles on the 2020 Census can’t help but “politicize” something that should be non-political in nature. But the articles themselves show that Mr. Schneider seems to be approaching it from a political point of view.

This article addresses two main points about this year’s census. The first is whether people in the country illegally should not only be counted, but be used in determining the number of members of the U. S. House of Representatives a state receives. Mr. Schneider includes references to statements from individuals and groups that oppose a citizenship question and insist that individuals who are in our country illegally should be included for the determining a state’s share of the 435 representative. I’ve addressed the rational why that would be inappropriate in my previous blog regarding Tom Purcell’s column in the Sept. 3, 2020 Opinion section of the Gazette. The guarantee of equal representation for U. S, citizens argues against their position. Unfortunately the article doesn’t include comments from those supporting that position.

The second point is what some are calling the administrations effort to “…complete census a month early…”. They claim that it will result in an undercounting of minority communities. The fact of the matter is “Census officials asked for an extension of the end-of-the-year deadline to turn in numbers used for drawing congressional districts.” The end of the year deadline isn’t something that the Trump administration arbitrarily imposed, it has been a requirement of Censuses for years.

Another point Mr. Schneider makes is the fact that President Reagan’s administration refused to accept a “technical adjustment” to the count of minorities that some in the Census Bureau wanted to use because they felt the actual count of minorities didn’t properly represent their numbers in the country. A “technical adjustment” is a nice way of saying they wanted to increase the actual count of minorities to make it higher. Was their version of the “Technical adjustment” making the count more accurate? How could you know for sure. But it is certain that states with suspected higher than average minorities living in their state would be rewarded by the adjustment.

In each of these cases Mr. Schneider puts a positive light on those protesting the more conservative perspective and doesn’t give any opposing comments for those who believe the conservative positions are justified. Does that seem like fair journalism?

Sept. 7, 2020: “Census Bureau must keep counting” by Mike Schneider of the Associated Press

This is a short article that reports that a Federal Judge in San Jose, California has stopped the Census Bureau from “… following a plan that would have it winding down operations in order to finish the 2020 census at the end of September.” Again, the article gives no rational for why it might be necessary to end the counting as originally required and includes no comments from those opposing the continued counting.

As this topic is portrayed as being politicized, I think it is a valid question as to who is actually politicizing the 2020 Census count? Is it those who think the count should be an actual count, that it should be done by the required deadlines and that only the count of individuals in the country legally should be used to determine the number of U. S. Representatives a state should be awarded? Or are those who want illegal immigrants to impact apportionment of the House’s 435 members between the states and think “technical adjustments” should be used to make counts “more accurate” the ones who are making the 2020 Census more politicized?

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