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

Film & TV

Larry David Goes MAGA

For a liberal Democrat, Larry David sometimes comes off as America’s reactionary id. Last night, on a superb tenth-season opener of Curb Your Enthusiasm, David made an extended joke about the (in)famous Make America Great Again cap. To a certain extent, I think the joke here is on Larry David. David’s ... Read More
Film & TV

Larry David Goes MAGA

For a liberal Democrat, Larry David sometimes comes off as America’s reactionary id. Last night, on a superb tenth-season opener of Curb Your Enthusiasm, David made an extended joke about the (in)famous Make America Great Again cap. To a certain extent, I think the joke here is on Larry David. David’s ... Read More
Health Care

‘Reconsidering Fetal Pain’

Two researchers with “divergent views regarding the morality of abortion” have published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics concluding that unborn human beings likely are able to feel pain at an earlier point than previous research has suggested. The authors state that they “came together to write ... Read More
Health Care

‘Reconsidering Fetal Pain’

Two researchers with “divergent views regarding the morality of abortion” have published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics concluding that unborn human beings likely are able to feel pain at an earlier point than previous research has suggested. The authors state that they “came together to write ... Read More