News & Politics

Media Outlets Retract Child-Detention Story That Relied on Obama-Era Data

Media Outlets Retract Child-Detention Story That Relied on Obama-Era Data
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visits the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Nogales Placement Center June 25, 2014 (Barry Bahler/Department of Homeland Security)

A story that claimed the Trump administration had the highest number of children in detention in the world was suddenly withdrawn by several media outlets because the study upon which the story was based used data from 2015.

The president of the United States in 2015 was Barack Obama.


A Nov. 18 story headlined “U.S. has world’s highest rate of children in detention -U.N. study” is withdrawn. The United Nations issued a statement on Nov. 19 saying the number was not current but was for the year 2015. No replacement story will be issued.

Even after the story was retracted, Democrats just couldn’t help themselves.

Washington Examiner:

Bernie Sanders tweeted out a Reuters story that linked to a story that had been retracted by the news organization because it cited statistics from almost five years ago.

The independent Vermont senator and 2020 presidential candidate sent out the article titled “U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children in detention: U.N. study” to his 8.8 million followers with the caption, “Under Trump, America leads the world in locking up little kids—including 100,000 children at the border. This is immoral.”

The data was actually from 2015 when Barack Obama was president.

I understand that correcting the date of the study would be in order. But are the figures wrong? Why not change the story?

Fox News:

On Monday, Manfred Nowak, an expert from the U.N. Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, claimed that 100,000 migrant children were detained by the Trump administration and indicated that it was the “world’s highest rate” of detained children. The following day, however, he acknowledged that the cited number actually was from 2015 — under President Obama.

A separate report last week from The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” found 69,550 migrant children have been held in U.S. government custody in the last year.

The reason this story was retracted was because it blamed the wrong president. Barack Obama faced a similar crisis on the border that Trump had to deal with and he came up with pretty much the same solutions regarding what to do with the new arrivals.

But anything that muddies the reputation or stains the legacy of Obama must be avoided at all costs. So when facilities at the border were being strained to the breaking point and Obama was forced to house separated children in cages, no one seemed to mind. But Trump, the monster, becomes a baby jailer using the exact same statistics.

That the U.N. would manipulate statistics is not surprising. That the U.S. media, with their “army of fact-checkers” would embrace a story only to drop it like a hot potato because it blamed Obama instead of Trump for incarcerating children is shameful.

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