Accuracy in Media

Chris Cuomo sat silently in the middle of the screen on his show Tuesday as CNN political commentator Angela Rye, unleashed a barrage of accusations against President Donald Trump, his immigration policy, and Steve Cortes, her fellow panelist.

The segment opened with Rye saying that “as a point of privilege,” she had encyclopedias as a child. She then read what she called the definition of concentration camps from her encyclopedias as an “internment center for political prisoners and members of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation or punishment, usually by executive decree or military order.”

Rye said that regardless of whether they are called concentration camps, they are “problematic.”

She then compared the immigration debate to the frog in boiling water, then said, “And what I’m saying to you today is we sat through this president calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists at the beginning of this campaign. Today, we sat through him talking about build that wall and hurt all those chances. And we went from which rage, outrage, to disgust, to dismay, to ‘it’s a shame.’”

We are “irresponsible at this point,” she continued. “That whether we call them concentration camps or not, her point remains the right is threatened by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because she tells the truth whether they can digest it or not.”

Then, her anger rising still further, she said, “Our bottom line here is there is an inhumane crisis happening at the southern border. It is because of how these people look. It is because of differences, because there is a fear that white people are losing their power in this country. That is the bottom line. It is white fear. That is what is driving this. It is racism at its core. It is what the foundation of this country is built upon, period.”

Finally, Cuomo asked her to let Cortes respond. “That’s completely untrue,” he said. “It’s not untrue,” she shouted over him. “That might not be your perspective, but do not call what I said untrue.”

Cortes then said that, if these were American citizens being detained – as was the case in World War II when Americans of Japanese descent were forced into camps – “then I would agree with you. These are not American citizens. What the Nazis did to these citizens … drag them out of their homes, strip them of their citizenship, subject them to torture and death … “

“So you’re going to justify this by what citizenship these people have?” Rye said. “What we have now …” he attempted to respond. “That’s sick, Steve,” she said.

Cortes then said immigrants were coming “overwhelmingly for economic reasons, and we know that to be true historically and presently because the director of ICE just told us 90 percent are not showing up for their asylum hearings. They are not legitimate refugees. They are economic migrants who have decided on their own when and how they can become American citizens, and that’s not the right way … it’s not about race.”

He talked about his own father coming to America and becoming a citizen legally. “When he became an American, he didn’t suddenly become white. He was still Hispanic, but he was an American citizen. And it’s not racist or xenophobic for this country to determine the processes to become a legal American citizen.”

“I’m sorry. Let me tell you something … I don’t know when we decided that a humanitarian crisis could be defined whether or not someone was carrying a green card of whether or not someone has their papers,” she said. “But I’m going to tell you this, before we are American, we are human beings. And it is not OK … it is a damn shame what is happening at the border.”

Cortes attempted to dispute her points by quoting former President Obama.

“Oh my God,” Rye said. “You guys are like the kings of red herrings.”

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