NYT's Jeremy Peters: Right-wing media and Trump lied about migrant “caravan” in “a villainization of immigrants”

Peters: “As is so often the case with these stories ... the facts quickly become irrelevant and the president becomes the chief accelerant to the flame”

From the April 5 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

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JEREMY PETERS (REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES): From the moment I saw the headline “caravan” and the images of these people making their way through Mexico, I just knew it was going to be the kind of story that the right-wing media was going to latch onto, and it would quickly take a dark turn through the blogosphere and through Fox & Friends and wind up in President Trump's head. 

Just think about it, Willie, the images of over a thousand Central Americans making their way toward the US border was almost too much for the president and his enablers in the conservative media to resist. But, as is so often the case with these stories, whether they're partially true, partially embellished or entirely made up, the facts quickly become irrelevant and the president becomes the chief accelerant to the flame. So, take a look at the migrants. These people, the 1,200 or so quickly became “thousands,” in President Trump's words, “thousands,” he said from the White House, were making their way toward the border. 

That just was simply not true. Because all of the reporting, even the initial report that triggered this in Buzzfeed, said that there was a good portion of these migrants who were never going to come to the US. They were going to stay in Mexico and resettle there. Furthermore, they weren't going to illegally enter the country, at least many of them were not going to. They were going to go through the legal process of declaring themselves at a border check point. Well, no miles of fencing or battalions of border patrol agents could have prevented that. They were doing something that was entirely lawful. 

So, what you see here is an embellishment and, really, a villainization of immigrants that is in keeping with President Trump stoking the grievances and fears that people in this country have about new entrants.


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