One of the biggest news stories of the year was the attempted breaching of the southwest border near San Diego, following weeks of coverage of the so-called “migrant caravan.”
But one common element to much of that reporting hasn’t been just bias, but outright misrepresentation and inflammatory politicization of the issue by the establishment media.
The following list covers some of the top media lies about the migrant caravan we’ve seen over the past month, but this list is by no means exhaustive.
Media Lie No. 1: The migrant caravan has no intention of breaching the border wall.
Earlier this month, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta confronted President Trump during a November 7 press conference to attack Trump’s claim that the caravan was an invasion. During the exchange, Acosta said that it was not an invasion. He cited a campaign video showing migrants climbing over walls, with Acosta saying about the caravan: “They’re not going to be doing that.”
But in fact, that’s exactly what they did:
Jim Acosta lectured President Trump about the migrant caravan saying:
– Not an invasion
– Hundreds of miles away
– Would not jump border wall
I overlaid actual footage from today of the migrant caravan storming the border to invade the US over Jim's question.
I hope you enjoy: pic.twitter.com/p3vQogWnIJ
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 26, 2018
After the attempts to breach the wall near San Diego over the weekend, the media yet again claimed that the attempted illegal storming of the border was proof that a border wall wasn’t needed:
CNN's Alisyn Camerota claims that hundreds of migrants storming the U.S. border proves the U.S. does not need a border wall.
Camerota also flat out lied, claiming "no one breached the border."
CBP officials arrested 69 migrants that illegally crossed into the U.S. pic.twitter.com/pQzG1pYPAr
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 26, 2018
Media Lie No. 2: The caravan is largely women and children seeking asylum from violence in their home countries.
This has been the narrative pushed by the media since the caravan was first announced last month. And even after the attempted breaching of the border — during which apparently no one presented themselves to claim asylum — this was still the narrative. For example, read this CNN contributor:
They trotted out the “women and children” claim on MSNBC, which was shockingly debunked by their own reporter at the scene:
MSNBC reporter Gadi Schwartz busts his own network's narrative about the caravan:
"From what we've seen, the majority are actually men and some of these men have not articulated that need for asylum." pic.twitter.com/hgJRTSkwjq
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) November 26, 2018
In a statement released this past Monday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the caravan was predominately male, and that women and children were being used as “human shields”:
[T]he caravan members are predominately male. It appears in some cases that the limited number of women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as “human shields” when they confront law enforcement. They are being put at risk by the caravan organizers as we saw at the Mexico-Guatemala border. This is putting vulnerable people in harms way.
She added that historically, 90 percent of those who claim asylum from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are judged to not qualify for asylum.
And many in the media have derided administration claims that there are potentially criminals and gang members in the caravan, which appears to be true:
#CBPElCentro agents arrest admitted MS-13 gang member traveling amongst members of Central American migrant caravan. How many more gang members & criminals are among caravan members? Without interdiction there is no way to know. Click news release image for details. pic.twitter.com/TXjIxp7DFm
— CBP El Centro (@CBPElCentro) November 28, 2018
Media Lie No. 3: The use of tear gas against attempted border jumpers is unprecedented.
Following Sunday’s attempted border breach, the media, Democrat members of Congress, and others descended into near-hysterics about the use of tear gas and pepper spray at the border:
Trump says attacks prompted border agents to tear-gas migrants. Photos showed unarmed women and children running from the gas https://t.co/l3DnniL9Sr
— Bloomberg (@business) November 27, 2018
"These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas." https://t.co/6gniIRitez
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 26, 2018
Others likened it to a war crime:
Chemical weapons, like tear gas, are banned for use in warfare. The Trump administration used it on children in diapers.https://t.co/YyZ0uniVC7
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) November 27, 2018
Trump’s unprecedented gassing of innocent children across Mexico’s border was a lawless act of war and a cruel violation of human rights — all provoked by Trump’s own earlier violations of federal asylum law and of federal court orders enforcing that law. Where will he stop?
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) November 27, 2018
But in fact, tear gas and pepper spray were regularly used to repel illegal migrants during the Obama administration.
Five years to the day before the attempted breach this past weekend, another incident of migrants swarming the border and attacking Border Patrol officials occurred in the very same spot, as was reported at the time.
The Los Angeles Times reported on the November 2013 incident — during the Obama administration — that “more than one dozen agents responded to the border fence atop the levee and deployed pepper spray. … Among the throng of mostly young men were women and children.”
In February 2014, USA Today reported that the use of pepper spray and tear gas was a regular occurrence at the border under the Obama administration.
Statistics provided by DHS earlier this week show that incidents involving the use of tear gas at the border occurred roughly the same amount under the Obama administration as the Trump administration, and that pepper spray use occurred more frequently under Obama:
As the Washington Times noted, tear gas was used at the border by the Obama administration on average about once a month.
And yet no media hysterics ensued.
Some media personalities made clear they just don’t care that it happened under Obama:
Meghan McCain and Abby Huntsman highlight that Obama used tear gas on immigrants every month during his presidency and his admin placed children with human traffickers.
Leftist Sunny Hostin responds: "I don't care what Obama did! I care what Trump is doing right here right now!" pic.twitter.com/hzB2zgWZBV
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 29, 2018
Media Lie No. 4: Rocks thrown at border patrol agents are not any kind of threat.
One of the reasons why Border Patrol agents under Obama responded with tear gas and pepper spray to rock attacks by migrants was that they were deemed a threat:
Today, several migrants threw projectiles at the agents in San Diego. Border Patrol agents deployed tear gas to dispel the group because of the risk to agents' safety. Several agents were hit by the projectiles. The situation is evolving and a statement is forthcoming.
— CBP (@CBP) November 25, 2018
For CNN commentator Sally Kohn, rock throwing is no danger to Border Patrol agents and is only a pretext for Trump to use deadly force:
If reports of a few migrants throwing rocks at the border are true, please wonder at whether a few rocks are really a threat to the heavily armed, militarized US border patrol:
ROCKS AREN’T THREATS.
THEY’RE JUST THE EXCUSE FOR TRUMP TO RESPOND WITH DEADLY FORCE.
— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) November 26, 2018
There were no reports of deadly force being used this past weekend, but there were some incidents where Border Patrol agents under Obama responded with gunfire:
Border Patrol says an agent fired shots after being pelted with rocks along the Rio Grande river: http://t.co/TVVTKgXZ
— The Denver Post (@denverpost) July 7, 2012
In 2013, Homeland Security Today reported that while assaults on Border Patrol agents were decreasing overall, incidents involving “shootings” and “weapons” were increasing.
And in fact, stones thrown at Border Patrol agents can be dangerous, as seen in this photo from 2010 of an unnamed agent from the McAllen Station in Texas who was injured by a rock thrown by drug smugglers:
Border Patrol agents face all kinds of dangers and attacks from illegal border crossers. Just yesterday, CBP reported on two agents who were injured on Tuesday west of Tucson in separate incidents by illegal aliens from Guatemala.
Media Lie No. 5: Trump’s separation of children is outrageous and unprecedented.
The media have been insufferable since President Trump announced the zero tolerance policy for illegal border crossers — that all would be detained and prosecuted.
Can anyone forget the media hysteria earlier this year when they uniformly went apoplectic over “kids in cages”? That is, until it was revealed that Obama kept kids in cages too, at which point the issue was dropped like a hot rock.
With the border caravan in the news, the issue of kids being detained and separated at times is back in the news, too. For example, a report by 60 Minutes this past weekend:
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) November 27, 2018
But as McClatchy helpfully reminded us during the “kids in cages” media hysteria last June, the Obama administration also separated children, prosecuted mothers who entered illegally, fast-tracked deportations, and kept kids in cages and tent cities.
McClatchy also reported in 2014 on Obama administration plans to increase the number of mothers and children detained after illegally crossing the border.
There was no media outrage.
One reason why the Trump administration is having to detain some children is that they are crossing with human traffickers. Also, some are discovered to not be children at all, but adults:
It’s also worth recalling that verification standards were so bad under the Obama administration that they ended up releasing children back into the custody of human traffickers, where they were subjected to sexual abuse, labor trafficking, abuse, and neglect.
What we continue to see in the media coverage of the migrant caravan and other issues related to illegal immigration is that the media — almost as a rule — deals unfairly, politicizes the issue, and regularly uses inflammatory rhetoric.
Given what we’ve seen just this past week, why should we ever rely on the establishment media to report fairly and accurately when it comes to these issues?