Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Fox News fearmongered about a migrant caravan for 26 straight days in the run-up to Trump's State of the Union

As Trump tries to paint a picture of an immigration “crisis,” Fox News devoted 7 hours of coverage to a migrant caravan

  • Before the 2018 midterm elections, Fox News and President Donald Trump went all in on fearmongering about the supposed threat of a migrant caravan approaching the U.S. southern border. Recently, as Trump was demanding funding for a border wall, warning of an immigration “crisis,” and threatening to declare a national emergency, Fox News tried the same gambit again.

    Fox News’ coverage of the latest caravan started days before the migrants even began their journey. From January 10 up until the State of the Union address on February 5, Fox News devoted over seven hours of coverage to the caravan that was moving toward the U.S. The network sent multiple correspondents to Central America and Mexico to report on it, with correspondent Griff Jenkins spending at least 14 days embedded with the migrants. In that time, Jenkins participated in at least 80 Fox segments on the topic.

    Fox’s coverage ramped up on January 15, the day the caravan started its trek from Honduras, and continued for nearly a week before dropping off. Coverage rose sharply again on January 30 and remained high through February 5, the same day that Trump delivered the State of the Union address and the migrant caravan arrived near the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Not a day went by that Fox News didn’t at least mention the caravan. Fox & Friends, the network’s morning show, covered it the most, spending just over two hours discussing the caravan between January 10 and February 5. The caravan was mentioned in 17 of the show’s 19 episodes during the time frame examined by Media Matters.

    While Fox’s previous caravan panic was used as a (failed) push for Republican voters ahead of the midterms, the network’s current caravan fixation is being used to justify Trump’s border wall obsession. To Fox, the latest migrant caravan is an example of “a crisis” that proves Trump needs a border wall, and it even provides a justification for Trump to potentially declare a national emergency. The network has also used news stories from the caravan to fearmonger about gang members, murderers, and rapists coming into the country.

    In comparison, CNN and MSNBC have largely ignored this caravan. Most of CNN’s and MSNBC’s mentions of the caravan in this time frame have been used to criticize Trump’s midterm caravan ruse, fact-check his immigration rhetoric, and note that all his fearmongering about caravans has amounted to nothing. CNN has also pointed out that Trump’s fixation on the caravan tends to stem from Fox News’ coverage.


    Just today, Fox News teased “new video emerging of another caravan forming.” This will never end. 


    Media Matters searched SnapStream for any mention of “caravan,” “Mexico,” “migrants,” “illegals,” “Guatemala,” or “Honduras” on Fox News between the hours of 4 a.m. and midnight starting January 10 and ending February 5 with the State of the Union. If a teaser, passing mention, or discussion was specifically about the caravan, we included it. Shows that re-aired during the hours of the study weren’t included in the results. Live video of Trump discussing the caravan also wasn’t included.