As Charles notes, a new United Nations report mistakenly claimed the United States was home of the world’s highest rate of children detention last year. The correct year was 2015. Both Reuters and AFP have now retracted stories covering the study. Why would any news organization withdraw, rather than simply correct, a story that features the staggering revelation that the United States had rounded up a historic number of children, tearing them away from their parents and throwing them in cages? When Trump-era detentions came to light, the issue was a referendum on “who we are” as a people. What’s changed?
The only possible reason to retract the story, of course, is that Obama was president in year 2015 and not Donald Trump. But the problem with whitewashing history isn’t just the hypocrisy or bias. Joe Biden, still seemingly the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s nomination, claims to have been one of the leading voices and policy advisors in the Obama administration — which he also risibly maintains was scandal-free. Biden, who’s dropped most of his moderate pre-2008 positions, almost entirely predicates his case for the presidency on the alleged successes of the Obama years. It wasn’t long ago that liberal columnists and politicians were making historically illiterate comparisons between the temporary hold on migrant children and some of the worst atrocities of history. Just as people once stood against “slavery or the Holocaust,” wrote New York Times columnist Charles Blow, they must now stand against Donald Trump, who “is running concentration camps at the border.” Biden himself argued that the “cruelty we’re seeing at our border is unconscionable.” So hopefully someone will ask Biden at tonight’s Democratic Party presidential debate why he sat by and tolerated the unconscionable cruelty implemented under Obama. Come to think of it, they could ask nearly everyone on that stage the same question.