Accuracy in Media

President Trump has revived Willie Horton, the mainstream media said after Trump retweeted an ad produced by his campaign that holds Democrats to account for their immigration policies.

At 4:18 p.m. Wednesday, Trump tweeted: “It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country. Vote Republican now!”

He embedded a video ad that showed convicted cop killer Luis Bracamontes saying during a court hearing that he does not regret killing the police officers and will kill more when he breaks out of prison.

The words “Democrats let him into our country” are imposed over the image, then, “Democrats let him stay.”

The footage then shifts to chaotic scenes at the border – crowds rushing gates, destroying fencing and overwhelming police. Then, a man who speaks Spanish is shown being interviewed for TV. A woman translating says, “He wants to apply for a pardon for the felony he committed.” The reporter asks what felony. The translator says, “Attempted murder.”

Then more scenes of fences being pushed down and crowds pouring past them. “Who else will the Democrats let in?” reads the message across the screen. It closes with another image of Bracamontes smiling.

The Washington Post responded with “Trump revives ‘Willie Horton’ tactic with ad linking illegal immigrant killer to Democrats.”

Willie Horton, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence in Massachusetts, raped a woman and stabbed her fiancé on a weekend furlough that was part of a program supported by then-Gov. Michael Dukakis.  

The Post said the video had gone to Trump’s 55.5 million Twitter followers and “as of early Thursday morning, the video had been viewed more than 1.8 million times, drawing widespread condemnation,” which was followed by tweets from John Harwood of NBC, Robert Reich and others.

Slate wrote about it under a headline that read: “Trump Shares Deranged Video Blaming Democrats for Undocumented Murderer, Showing There is Nothing He Won’t Do or Say.”

“The president of the United States tweeted out a campaign video Wednesday afternoon that was … wow,” Elliot Hannon’s story began.”

Later, it says, “Clips of Hispanic men and women, giving interviews with absolutely no context, walking in large groups, and breaking down a game, could literally be from anywhere and about anything – but their intent is clear. And the result is jaw-dropping.”

Hannon admits the murder of the police officers is tragic and the ability of Bracamontes to evade authorities “problematic,” but “that the president of the United States would use an unattributed video that isn’t a dog whistle but a human blowhorn aimed at stoking racial animus days before an election is downright terrifying.”

HuffPost, which headlined its story: “Trump Compares Migrants in Caravan to Cop Killer in Fearmongering Ad,” wrote this was part of a pattern with Trump.

“Trump has joined other Republican figures, including Ann Coulter, in propagating fearmongering surrounding the caravan in the weeks leading up to the midterms. Not only has he accused people traveling in the caravan of being criminals, gang members and Middle Eastern terrorists, but he has also accused high-profile Democrats like George Soros of funding the caravan.”

The proof Trump accused Soros of funding the caravan is the following exchange. A reporter asked the president, “George Soros? Who’s paying for it?” Trump replied: “I don’t know who. But I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of people say yes.”

The caravan poses no threat, HuffPost reported. “In reality, the caravan is mostly made up of people who plan to legally seek asylum at points of entry. Many, including children, are braving illness, squalor and the threat of death as they make their way north mainly on foot.”

The closest any of the outlets came to attempting to explain why Trump would release an ad so vile and destructive to his electoral efforts was the Post, which quoted a professor from California talking about “racial cuing” and how the Horton ad was “incredibly effective” and “devastating to Mr. Dukakis.”

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