Accuracy in Media

That mistake last weekend where several mainstream media outlets published pictures of children in cages near the Mexican border only to have us later learn those photos were taken during the Obama administration … those weren’t what you think they were.

But Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., says he saw children in cages but produced no photos to back it up, and those children in cages are explicit victims of cruel policies enacted by the Trump administration, according to the mainstream media.

“Under Barack Obama, they were housed in unpleasant conditions and the government apparently ‘lost track’ of some of them, although immigrant advocates say that particular story is overblown because most of these kids simply ended up with relatives and fell off the grid,” wrote Salon writer Heather Digby Parton. “Nonetheless, at least the Obama administration understood it was dealing with a humanitarian crisis and made some effort to mitigate the problem, however ineffectually.”

Rather than getting into the position to have “lost track” of abandoned children or having them fall “off the grid,” the Trump administration is trying to dissuade parents from bringing kids to the border when they sneak in with a policy that clearly lays out the consequences.

“Something much more insidious is taking place today,” Digby Parton wrote.

She then quoted Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement of the new tougher border policy. “If you cross the border unlawfully … then we will prosecute you,” Sessions’ statement said. “If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then we’ll prosecute you … If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.”

Digby Parton, writing what was presented as a news story under the site’s News and Politics banner, could not remain objective.

“I hope I don’t have to point out that it’s not the child’s fault either,” she wrote. “But that doesn’t appear to concern Sessions or Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson any more than killing family members to deter terrorists concerns their boss. Nielson declared that Americans are separated from their children every day when they commit crimes – so, if you don’t commit a crime, it won’t happen to you. Defining keeping your family together as ‘smuggling’ is glib, but that doesn’t mean it makes sense.”

She does not mention that families could stay together if they don’t try to cross illegally into the United States.

She did mention that most of these families are not MS-13 gang members and that some are here to seek asylum from MS-13 in their home countries. Trump is responsible for this problem as well because he “loves to talk about [them] in creepy, lurid detail,” and then, when gang members are caught doing illegal acts in the United States, to imprison them, where they are “hardened into violent criminals” and then deport them to their home countries where they “rule the streets.”

Digby Parton’s claim is that people are showing up at the border to seek asylum and, rather than being treated with sympathy, they are separated from their children, rushed through a process they are bound to lose, then treated as unlawful entrants.

She writes of the “surreal nightmare of this byzantine system, which is, of course, a feature, not a bug.”

She writes: “The whole point of this is to make examples of these mothers and children, and to deter asylum-seekers from even attempting to come here.”

And finally, “America’s borders have officially become a cruel, dystopian nightmare for immigrants and refugees,” as if this was a new condition. “The president and his supporters,” she concludes, “couldn’t be happier.”

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