There will be very little reporting that reveals just how non-threatening the caravan is because the media has deployed their people to cover this Trump manufactured drama with the devotion of the truly addicted.
Trump can’t sell this conspiracy on his own, y’all. He needs help and he has it.
CNN’s Tom Kludt observed how the media helped Trump sell this lie, “Within days of Trump’s tweets, news networks were beaming images of the thousands of individuals making their way through Mexico. Outlets, including CNN, began displaying maps tracking their progress. Reporters were deployed to travel with them. It was suddenly the top story in the country, but to some the coverage was over-the-top.”
The pictures! The tick-tock of it all! The troops with their BIG GUNS! This non-story is so titillating and cinematic for the media: The scary, hungry brown people they get to beat up on by portraying as dangerous, backed up now by Trump’s 7,000 or possibly 15,000 armed troops – more than we have in Iraq by double or triple if he sends 15,000.
Our for-profit media loves a good teabag waving in the wind, a ridiculous costume they can elevate to the front page even if there were only three people at that tea party “rally”, and now Trump’s “caravan” of imaginary foes. He spits, they follow.
Yes, the caravan is real. We have covered it here a few times because it’s real. But the real story is not the non-threat they pose, but the asylum they were so hoping to seek here, in the great country of the United States – only to be turned into punching bags by our President and media.
They’re trying to escape violence and poverty. They are vulnerable people. If Trump doesn’t want to offer asylum anymore, and it seems he doesn’t to *some* people, it would be a crisis on its own under normal circumstances, but we could also deal with it. But that’s not what he’s doing. He’s gleefully, purposefully demonizing people for political gain. He made a story up out of thin air.
No one cared about an email scandal when George W Bush had it, Mitt Romney had it, Sarah Palin had it, but Donald Trump made it sexy for the media and they ate it up. He’s doing the same thing again with the caravan.
The caravan is basically right-wing racism being sold to you by the same media that managed to make Hillary Clinton’s emails a thing when every Republican who had been in an executive government position had done the same or worse, and now Trump is using an unsecured phone but no one cares.
Trump is desperately using the caravan to change the topic of coverage in the last week before the midterms, away from the pipe bombs sent to his critics and top Democrats and away from the slaughter of 11 Jewish people by a man motivated by this very false caravan story.
And the media is helping him. So in a way, the media is helping him motivate violence. Let’s put it this way: Trump couldn’t incite violence without the unchecked megaphone of the media. It’s not as if they don’t know that he will lie. Trump lies every time he speaks. Imagine if they introduced him with the caveat that he has lied “3084 times” since becoming president and that he uses racism to divide us and keep himself in power.
Pay attention today at 4:15 EST Thursday to which outlets cover Trump’s presser on the “illegal immigration crisis” and “border security” and how they cover it. Every outlet should begin by informing viewers that the caravan is not actually a threat, is nowhere near our border, and has every right to seek asylum here.
They should also correct Trump’s false, unsupported claims that the caravan is “invading” the country, which he used to justify deploying U.S. troops within our own borders even though it’s not true, that there are “dangerous” people in the caravan and that Democrats are funding the caravan. Trump shouldn’t get a megaphone to lie and sow division and hate.
They should actually be covering Trump’s defunding of the fight against white supremacist violence and domestic terrorism, because these are the actual threats that face Americans. They should be covering that on Tuesday, just days after the Pittsburgh shooting, DHS completely ignored the massacre of 11 Jewish people on a recent call with reporters, and instead diverted attention to this fantasy threat of the caravan.
We have to cover Trump because he is the president. But we also need to be a part of informing the public, which means we have to kill the lie before it begins, especially when we know it’s coming.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.