The Corner

Immigration

On a Willful Lie from the Press

President Donald Trump talks to the media at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 10, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

This claim is omnipresent on social media and beyond:

Peruse Twitter or Facebook right now, and you’ll see this line everywhere — and not solely in the feeds of left-leaning journalists or from admitted critics of the president. Collectively, this is the line that the “down-the-middle” press has elected to sell. In the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson complains that, “calling immigrants ‘animals,’ Trump evokes an ugly history of dehumanization.” USA Today reports that “Trump ramps up rhetoric on undocumented immigrants: ‘These aren’t people. These are animals.'” The Huffington Post gripes that “Trump Refers To Immigrants As ‘Animals.’ Again.”

This isn’t true. Trump didn’t “lash out at undocumented immigrants,” or “refer to immigrants as ‘animals.'” Rather, he referred to members of the murderous gang, MS-13, as “animals” after a questioner brought the outfit up by name. That he was responding to the question, not riffing on illegal immigrants in general, is extremely obvious to anyone who has watched the full footage of the exchange, which, presumably, is why every single news story that suggests otherwise features a truncated clip or transcript that edits the questioner out. Here, from CSPAN, is a good example of the trick.

What these outlets are doing here is lying. There is no more accurate way of putting it. One can forgive the thousands of people who see this false information and reflexively believe it to be true — unless they look into the matter, they will know no better. But one cannot forgive those who are deliberately spreading falsehoods. Trump himself is a habitual liar — to the point at which he lies about things about which there is no obvious incentive to lie. If the press thinks they can change that by spreading lies themselves, it’s going to be sorely disappointed.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Against Trump

Donald Trump leads the polls nationally and in most states in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. There are understandable reasons for his eminence, and he has shown impressive gut-level skill as a campaigner. But he is not deserving of conservative support in the caucuses and primaries. Trump is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Against Trump

Donald Trump leads the polls nationally and in most states in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. There are understandable reasons for his eminence, and he has shown impressive gut-level skill as a campaigner. But he is not deserving of conservative support in the caucuses and primaries. Trump is ... Read More
U.S.

The Worrisome Decline of Patriotism in America

Independence Day is a time to celebrate our country, but with patriotic sentiment at perhaps an all-time low, this year’s holiday is also an opportunity for us to remember how excruciatingly lucky we are to be American citizens. With nothing but bad news filling our screens in recent months, love of country has ... Read More
U.S.

The Worrisome Decline of Patriotism in America

Independence Day is a time to celebrate our country, but with patriotic sentiment at perhaps an all-time low, this year’s holiday is also an opportunity for us to remember how excruciatingly lucky we are to be American citizens. With nothing but bad news filling our screens in recent months, love of country has ... Read More

Hamilton on the Wrong Side of Cinema

Disney’s presentation of the Broadway blockbuster Hamilton marks a curious cultural turning point: The most heralded production in recent Broadway history has not been adapted into a movie — it’s a digital video recording of a 2016 stage performance — because it has to live up to its hype as an exclusive ... Read More

Hamilton on the Wrong Side of Cinema

Disney’s presentation of the Broadway blockbuster Hamilton marks a curious cultural turning point: The most heralded production in recent Broadway history has not been adapted into a movie — it’s a digital video recording of a 2016 stage performance — because it has to live up to its hype as an exclusive ... Read More
Music

The All-American Glory of Yacht Rock

They say jazz is America’s musical signature: As Ken Burns wrote, “the genius of America is improvisation, our unique experiment a profound intersection of freedom and creativity. . . . Nowhere is this more apparent than in jazz — the only art form created by Americans, an enduring and indelible expression ... Read More
Music

The All-American Glory of Yacht Rock

They say jazz is America’s musical signature: As Ken Burns wrote, “the genius of America is improvisation, our unique experiment a profound intersection of freedom and creativity. . . . Nowhere is this more apparent than in jazz — the only art form created by Americans, an enduring and indelible expression ... Read More