Why is Grist.com publishing articles from anti-immigrant groups?

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Grist.com, fearless campaigner against global warming, waste, greed . . . and immigrants?

One of the most popular articles on Grist recently was an interview with Gloria Steinem on overpopulation and other more titillating issues: http://www.grist.org/article/2010-12-23-gloria-steinem-on-population-sexual-pleasure-men-parents.

The article seems harmless enough, if a bit vapid in a “drugs are bad” kind of way. Telling us that empowering women is a good thing is hardly news. So why publish the article at all?

According to the interview, “The biggest long-term challenge is the degradation of our water and air and environment” and, Ms Steinem gravely informs us, “all are linked to overpopulation”. More female empowerment = less overpopulation. Nothing objectionable about this article, right?

Not so fast. As a footnote makes clear, “This interview has been republished courtesy of Population Media Center” and a link is supplied to the PMC so eager young things can find out about the good work the PMC promotes. From the footnote on the Grist article we learn that:

Population Media Center strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for positive behavior change.

However, just a little basic research tells quite a different story.

PMC is an organisation founded and run by its president William N. Ryerson (see http://www.populationmedia.org/who/ ). Ryerson has a history in the world of overpopulation. Checking Sourcewatch.org, we find that he was the author of a piece entitled “Sixteen Myths About Overpopulation” which was published by The Carrying Capacity Network. It also lists Ryerson as president and chair of Progressives for Immigration Reform organisation, and as an ‘advisor’ to Californians for Population Stabilization’ http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=William_N._Ryerson .

Firstly, the Carrying Capacity Network is an organization that has or had on its board of directors such people as Virginia Abenethy, a white seperatist, who states quite openly that she “prefers being with her own kind”. Indeed, Abernethy is so extreme, she even gets denounced by those she seeks to link with: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2004/fall/white-supremacy

Secondly, Progressives for Immigration Reform [PFIR] and Californians for Population Stabilization. The PFIR is Ryerson’s other main group.Like the PMC, he is the president and chair of the PFIR, whose stated mission is:

Progressives for Immigration Reform is a non-profit organization seeking to educate the public on the unintended consequences of mass migration.


The PFIR and Californians for Population Stabilization, according to the anti-racist organisation the Southern Poverty Law Center, are nativist groups that campaign against immigrants to preserve white Anglo-Saxon American culture. In her essay “The Hypocrisy of Hate” environmentalist Heidi Beirich spells out the real agenda behind these ‘overpopulation’ groups:

In the last few years, key nativist groups have increasingly been taking up this strategy. They have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to run full-page advertisements appealing to liberals in an array of publications and have started a new group, Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR). They’ve built a series of websites aimed at “progressive” environmentalists — and many of those sites are run by people who are also principals of right-wing nativist groups.

Time and again, the hypocrisy of their claims comes to the surface. PFIR was originally registered by a Republican activist who was also involved in efforts to denounce overly liberal professors — hardly a “progressive” position. Its leader is a former attorney for one of the country’s leading nativist organizations and agreed to be interviewed for a cover story in a far-right nativist journal. A nativist political action committee controlled by Mary Lou Tanton, who is married to the primary architect of the strategy of appealing to environmentalists, has given money to an array of politicians whose environmental voting records are miserable.

“The nativist movement is clearly attempting to split the environmental movement in order to advance its own white nationalist agenda,” said the Rev. David Ostendorf, who heads the Center for New Community, a Chicago-based interfaith group dedicated to “building community, justice and equality.” “The greening of hate is not about the environment, conservation or population. It is about preserving the dominance of European Americans.”


The Population Media Center also stages “conferences” where it invites representatives from anti-immigrant organizations founded by ‘racist’ John Tanton. This helps to give racist Malthusianism and anti-immigration a patina of environmental respectability.  See the gleeful report on its involvement from the Center for Immigration Studies [CIS] here http://www.cis.org/north/population-environment-meeting and the SPLC’s report on the true nature of the CIS and its founder John Tanton here http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/john-tanton .

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but Grist tends to consider itself as a ‘beacon’ of the liberal left doesn’t it? So the question is – why is Grist giving free publicity and lending its reputation to anti-immigrant organisations like these? Is there some weird synergy here, or does Grist simply not research the people and articles it links to?

What makes this particular Grist post even more stupid then the normal is the fact that only two years previously they had alerted readers to this very same threat

Via Feministing, it appears a group of anti-immigration organizations are trying to cloak their agenda in environmental concerns

The solution to our energy and traffic problems isn’t improved mass transit, better city planning, or changed behavior. It’s keeping out those pesky immigrants. So who’s behind this ad? American Immigration Control FoundationCalifornians for Population StabilizationFederation of American Immigration Reform,NumbersUSA, and Social Contract Press.


As we’ve seen, a scant couple of minutes half-hearted searching on Google should have alerted them to the myriad connections between Population Media Center, William N. Ryerson and the nativist, anti-immigrant campaign.

3 responses to “Why is Grist.com publishing articles from anti-immigrant groups?

  1. Pingback: Why Population Alarmism is Bad News Bears «

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