During the Thursday broadcast of his radio show, right-wing mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh discussed the possibility that President Obama is responsible for the surge of immigrants coming in from Central America in recent months. This is a conspiracy theory that has been gaining momentum in conservative circles over the past few days. Apparently, as this insane theory goes, the Obama Administration has convinced tens of thousands of young immigrants to storm the border. President Obama will then provide them with asylum and eventually turn them all into American citizens. In turn, all of these newly turned citizens will become dedicated Democratic voters, helping to widen the gap between Democrats and Republicans and turn the country into the Socialist hellscape that Obama has always planned. Or something like that.
Anyway, Limbaugh took his cue from The Washington Times and The Daily Caller. Both ran stories on Wednesday linking to the far-right website DMLDaily. The owner of the site, Dennis Michael Lynch, had posted two sets of photos on the site last week showing tennis shoes that had the phrase ‘Yes We Can’ and the likeness of Obama. Lynch stated that he received the photos from Border Patrol agents and that the shoes were on the feet of children who were detained at the border. He admits that he cannot authenticate the photos but that he trusts the agents.
DC and The Times ran with the story on Wednesday. Both of them posted the photos, seemingly as proof that these migrants were taking orders from Democratic operatives that the borders were open, and they just need to make their way to America. Basically, they have an open invite from the President. The Times even sent out a tweet Thursday morning with one of the photos.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) July 10, 2014
These articles helped to feed into the narrative that had already been started by Texas Republicans, most notably Governor Rick Perry and Rep. Louie Gohmert. Therefore, by the time of his broadcast Thursday, the conspiracy theory was ripe for Limbaugh to put it on blast.
Below is an excerpt of his comments, via a transcript from The Rush Limbaugh Show:
RUSH: So, I must confess, I have been tempted to make a joke about something, but I held back. I held back because it involves the children. I’m talking about the children that are arriving unaccompanied all across the US Southern border. And the joke was going to be, “How long’s it gonna be before these kids start arriving with ‘I love Obama’ shirts?'” But I didn’t mention that because I thought people might think it’s a bit insensitive and not taking the situation seriously.
And, lo and behold, every time I either think about or actually make a joke about these people, it comes true! The kids are arriving wearing Obama “Yes, we can” tennis shoes. I have the photo. I have proof right here, ladies and gentlemen. Some of this is hilarious. It is something that you joke about, “They would never do this. They would never.” But they’re doing it!
You know, I told Snerdley this morning that I thought one of the fastest ways to shut this down would be if somebody were able to sneak across the border into Mexico and get themselves on these trains and the other forms of transportation that these kids are coming in on and pass out “I can’t wait to vote Republican” T-shirts and caps and have these kids arriving wearing that stuff. That would shut this down faster than anything you’ve ever seen. If it wouldn’t shut it down, we would be able to get pictures of border control agents ripping the clothing off of these kids and ripping their caps off.
A couple of things here. First off, we are’t even sure that these photos are authentic. They were basically just forwarded to a conservative commentator and filmmaker who has already made two films critical of immigration reform and he posted them on his website. Even with his disclaimer that the photos could not be authenticated, two media sources decided to push his story and try to get it into the mainstream. Besides being sloppy, it shows a complete lack of journalistic integrity. But, then again, integrity really isn’t a word you associate with The Daily Caller or The Washington Times.
However, even if these are authentic photos taken at detention centers at the border, all I have to say is — So what? What does it matter? These are poor kids escaping violent conditions and traveling hundreds or thousands of miles and will wear just about anything that they can get their hands on. We see pictures of two sets of shoes with Obama’s likeness on it. Ummm, ok. How many came across wearing shoes and shirts with other logos on them because they were readily available in their location due to charitable donations? I am sure many were wearing shirts representing sports teams. Does that mean those specific franchises were down in El Salvador or Honduras handing out apparel and telling kids to make it across the border in order to support their teams going forward?
Image courtesy of DMLDaily
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).