Accuracy in Media

The liberal commentariat went berserk after President Trump announced he would rescind an Obama-era program that shielded children of illegal immigrants from deportation.

It was bad economics, Paul Krugman wrote. It is “Donald Trump … saying in every way possible that power in America is white, straight and male and all else are targets,” New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted.

“DACA decision highlights the chasm between Trump’s compassionate rhetoric and reality. Shorter: unmatched hypocrite,” wrote Jennifer Rubin, a self-described conservative columnist at the Washington Post.

But the straight news reports immediately after the president’s decision to wind down the program over the next two years were surprisingly subdued.

“Jeff Sessions announces DACA program to be rescinded,” wrote CBS News. “Trump ends DACA, but gives Congress window to save it,” wrote CNNPolitics. “Trump Ends DACA Program, No New Applications Accepted,” reported NBC News.

Moreover, the copy itself was measured, carefully noting the complexity of the issue, the consequences of not taking action and the timeline the administration established to give Congress an opportunity to act.

David Nakamura’s story in the Washington Post was also relatively evenhanded.

“The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would begin to unwind an Obama-era program that allows younger undocumented immigrants to live in the country without fear of deportation, calling the program unconstitutional but offering a partial delay to give Congress a chance to address the issue,” Nakamura wrote.

The story quoted Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointing out former President Barack Obama had set the stage for this day when he “sought to achieve specifically what the legislative branch refused to do.”

It gave a fair hearing to the administration’s argument that nine states were prepared to file suit against the government tomorrow to force an end to the program and that the suit was likely to succeed, bringing an immediate end the program and chaos for participants.

“We chose the least disruptive option,” Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said, according to the Post.

Nakamura did not mention any opposition from immigration groups until the second half of his article. And even then, he barely skimmed over the matter before returning to point out the president was torn over the decision between wanting to address the illegality of the Obama immigration order and the fact that most of the people affected by it are law-abiding and employed.

The New York Times topped its coverage with a series of videos from DACA participants, who are often referred to as Dreamers. But its news story kept to the facts for several paragraphs before accusing Sessions of using “the aggrieved language of anti-immigrant activists who argue that undocumented people are lawbreakers who hurt native-born Americans by usurping their jobs and pushing down wages.”

Both the Times and Post pointed out that former President Obama had promised to speak out if President Trump ever rescinded DACA. And late in the afternoon, Obama stuck to his words, calling the president “cruel” for his decision.

But for the most part, the two leading liberal newspapers in the country devoted the copy in their news sections to delivering the news.

How did this happen? Why weren’t the stories shaped more forcefully against Trump, as they usually are? First, there was a lot of actual news to report and a long timeline before conditions on the ground will change.

New applications for DACA ended today. Those who thought they had six months to renew must now renew within 30 days. Those in the plan now could start losing their status and right to work in this country, but not until March 5, 2018.

Moreover, the administration said Dreamers whose status ran out would not be high priorities for deportation unless they were involved in gangs or other criminal activity. And the administration’s argument that the program would not withstand legal scrutiny, which would mean a judge could end the legal status of all 800,000 Dreamers with one bang of his gavel, seemed hard to overcome.

The media no doubt will find additional items they find objectionable within DACA. But for a day, at least, Trump announced a critical and controversial policy change, and because of the long timeline, his encouragement to Congress to solve the problem and the fact it probably would be overturned anyway, all the press could do – for the most part – was report the facts. 

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  • BeagleDawg

    This country was founded under an umbrella of laws, that is what makes us free. Allowing a segment of the population to disobey the law and rewarding them for their crime is absurd. Either we change the law or enforce the law. No other choice. Even those who could start the process of becoming citizens have made on effort to do so. Soon we will have a country full of people who have pledged no alligiance to the UNited States or to its laws.

  • Payne A. Tension

    In all the furor and hand wringing over the DACA announcement, on both sides, and subsequent waffling on the matter by the President, I sense an opportunity, here. This could be a chance to use the DACA issue as a bargaining chip by the Republican controlled Congress in concert with the Trump administration to achieve, dare I say it, a grand bargain to include solving many of our festering immigration issues.
    The essence of the of the bargain could be as follows: OK, so you want to save the Dreamers from a cruel fate at the hands ICE agents? No problem. Lets give them proper citizenship indoctrination, vetting and grant them naturalization. Yes, we will do this an even more, if you please. Give them a car, house, guaranteed job for life, etc., BUT only on the following conditions: We fund (supplemented by drug cartel largess seizures) AND build the border wall, implement e-verify system, fix and enforce the temp worker provisions, seriously administer our Visa program, monitor employers who create the high demand for illegal immigrant workers and enforce our current immigration laws to absorb immigrants in a methodical and rational manner. If we could achieve these conditions, Applying amnesty (shudder) to the Dreamers, a huge leap by conservatives who since 2010 have given R’s Congress, many State legislatures and Governorships, and the White House, would be a small price to pay compared to the magnitude of solving a huge generational problem.
    Of course, this would require several things to happen. Congress must work with the President to lay out the strategy and articulate and sell it, if you will, to the American people. It will require a high level of coordination and moral commitment by the these entities. Finally, it will require a high degree of resolve to face the onslaught of attacks by media and others who are driven by the two-fold scourge of our day, political correctness and the diminution of America and its culture.
    I’m not holding out much hope, but a guy can dream (pun intended, kind of), can’t I?

  • samiam

    I agree with you that allowing some people get away with breaking the law it will be spiraling out of control! It reminds me of letting a kid do something after being told no over and over again! It is not a positive step to begin to reform immigration! Lets see we will approve this one and not this one and in time there will be long lines at the border hoping they can change our laws like we did with DACA! The DACA program was created by Obama and was never revisited as it was supposed to be temporary and not final!

  • MesaMark

    Since AIM changed editorship, we seem to have gotten less coverage and a more tepid tone. One more infiltrated and now lame DC organization.

  • “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    ~ ~ ~ H.L. Mencken

    Regarding D.A.C.A.: “Don’t punish the children.” Please spare me the fake pity. The naivete of some of the American electorate is boundless. Leftists don’t give a damn about “breaking up familues”; the Left’s social policies have been destroying the American family structure for decades. The Left’s hue and cry vis-a-vis DACA is motivated by nothing more than increasing the pool of potential Democrat voters. The political persuasion of the DACA cohort is skewed incredibly to the Left. Were the opposite true ( as with expatriate Cubanos ), I assure you the silence from the cheerleading media and their parade of useful idiots, would be deafening.

    If the potential voting pattern of the 800,000 DACA illegal immigrants were skewed overwhelmingly toward Republicans (rather than to the Democrats), how many crocodile tears would be shed for them by the Left ???

    Q: How does the left not give a damn about breaking up families?

    A: If you use a search engine (e.g. AVIRA) and type you will find literally millions of articles.