On The Bill Press Show, Media Matters' Cristina López highlights need for media access to immigrant detention centers

On The Bill Press ShowMedia Matters' Cristina López highlights need for media access to immigrant detention centers

López: "If what we've been able to see has been so gut-wrenching and so tear-inducing, imagine just what we're just not seeing"


From the June 22 edition of TYT Network's The Bill Press Show:

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BILL PRESS (HOST): Yesterday, there were now -- I knew this was going to happen -- stories about conditions at these facilities, Cristina, were everything from unsanitary conditions to, again, not being able to contact their parents.


PRESS: Beatings even. And assault, physical assault or sexual assault. And on top of that the word that the Pentagon, and this was the lead story in The New York Times this morning, they're preparing four military bases to hold as many as 20,000 children. So this is the compassionate response to Donald Trump's executive order, 20,000 of them on military bases around the country.

LÓPEZ: And if it's already been hard for media to get access to detention centers, to be able to report -- and sunshine is usually the best bleach for transparency -- it's going to be even harder if you think about it in military detainment centers.

PRESS: Yeah.

LÓPEZ: And that's one of the biggest problems right now, that media don't get access and that what we've been able to get has been through incredible reporting done by some journalists on the ground that have been able to get the sources and through leaked audio. And imagine what we're not seeing. That's what's really concerning. If what we've been able to see has been so gut-wrenching and so tear-inducing, imagine just what we're just not seeing. And the voices that we're not hearing because they don't speak English. And it's more what we're not seeing that's concerning here.

PRESS: Right. I mean the idea that when they first allowed the media in, they said, "OK, you can come in, but you can't take any photos or you can't take any video. We'll release the photos we want people to see."

LÓPEZ: Propaganda.

PRESS: Yeah. But the propaganda they release showed these kids in cages, right? On these concrete floors. That's what they were putting out as, "Look what a good job we're doing."


LÓPEZ: This is the thing about Fox this week. You have to give it to them that the acrobatics that they had to go through to try to convince their audiences that what they were seeing should not be something that -- they shouldn't feel anything from that. They couldn't anymore argue that this wasn't happening. At first, that's what they were trying to do, but then when the audio leaked and the pictures were everywhere, they tried to ignore the audio. They didn't play it. They were the only network in cable news that virtually ignored it the day it came out. But still, it was hard to deny that the reality -- the natural response of any human watching these images was going to be empathy. And so what they were trying to do was to use the images to tell you, "Well, actually, this is just the product of a policy that wasn't put in place by Donald Trump one day. He's just following the rule. This is the rule of law." They were trying to argue with how inhumane this is. They were trying to argue that this was the victims' fault. 


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