How a New York Times Story About Mexicans Shows that the Orange County Register Will Always Suck

Early last week, the New York Times did a so-so story about how there's so few Mexicans left in rural Mexico that any amnesty would probably not motivate more of them to migrate to the United States. I say “so-so” not just because I think the reporter, Damien Cave, is an apologist for the Mexican elite, but because the story was better reported by Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones about 15 years ago, as documented in his awesome True Tales from Another Mexico.

But if the Gray Lady did a middling job, then the Orange County Register just fucked up the story royally, and proved yet again that you can throw all the money you want on a laughable publication–and it'll still be a laughable publication if you don't solve the problem that makes it a laughable story in the first place. See, the Reg republished the Times' piece, only adding a flourish noting that a lot of OC residents came from the region mentioned in the article: Zacatecas.

Um, no shit.

I don't have the Register's version because of their paywall, and because I threw away the print edition, but I remember howling upon reading the story. See, not only are there a lot of zacatecanos in la naranja, there are tens of thousands–if not more–of us. Not only does the town that Cave featured, El Cargadero, have a big presence here, there are at least a thousand people from my home rancho in Anaheim alone. This isn't exactly a secret in Orange County: I mention it about every other week in this infernal rag, and even the Reg's coverage of me over the years has noted my cargaderense roots. And the man who becomes the focus of Cave's narrative, Fermín Saldivar Ureño? He's the brother-in-law of my cousin, who lives just down the street from my parents in Anacrime.

Wouldn't it have been an awesome tie-in if the Register had ran the Times' story with another connecting the dots for its readers, showing they know the county they profess to love? But, of course, since there is little institutional knowledge left at the Register and even less of an understanding of OC's Latino communities (but that's another post…), the Reg merely reprinted the Times' story, just adding that Zacatecas reference to try and desperately prove they were wit' it, much like your office mate who's going to Coachella at age 40. Even more ominously for the future of the publication, that Reg institutional knowledge still remaining couldn't figure out the connections–as long as those clowns still run Grand Street, no amount of new reporters will fix the paper.

And, Reg: before you assign your new Anaheim reporter, Art Marroquin, to belatedly do the El Cargadero-Anaheim story, don't bother: we did it 13 years ago.

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