Accuracy in Media


The Washington Post reported Sunday that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained a man taking his wife to the hospital to give birth.

The paper also promoted the piece on Twitter with its headline, “ICE arrested a wanted man driving his pregnant wife to give birth. She drove herself to the hospital.”

The Post’s wording leads readers to pity the pregnant woman, allowing the implication she was in active labor — she wasn’t — and neglects major parts of the story. The Post reports:

“Maria del Carmen Venegas was on her way to deliver a baby boy, her fifth child, by Caesarean section in a planned operation Wednesday afternoon. Her husband, Joel Arrona-Lara, was driving her car to the hospital.

“Two SUVs swooped in to block the vehicle at a San Bernardino, Calif., gas station. They belonged to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the agents asked for Venegas’s identification, she later told CBS Los Angeles. She complied. The agents also asked for Arrona-Lara’s identification.

“The couple was in a hurry when they left, and his ID was at home, Venegas told Univision affiliate KMEX. The agents searched the car and led Arrona-Lara away in handcuffs, leaving his wife frantic.

In those first three paragraphs, the Post villainizes ICE. But it does not mention the heart of the story — why Arrona-Lara was detained in the first place. Arrona-Lara is a “Mexican national wanted in Mexico under a warrant issued for homicide charges.”

Many of the top Twitter responses to the story called the Post out for misleading them.

 




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