Judd Legum (popular.info) exposes Trump’s network propaganda.
At 9 PM [Eastern] tonight, every major broadcast network will turn their airwaves over to Donald Trump, who plans on using the time to promote a phony “national security crisis” at the border. The decision by the networks to air the speech live provides an audience of millions for Trump to push misinformation about immigrants, crime, and the efficacy of his wall. Those falsehoods, in turn, will be used to justify the ongoing government shutdown.
It represents a complete capitulation by the media to a president that has no interest in the truth.
Trump is exploiting a major weakness in the news ecosystem. The broadcast media wants to be perceived as unbiased. They are more concerned with maintaining that perception than accurately informing the public.
To prove they are not “fake news,” the networks will air actual fake news.
Border wall fanfiction
Donald Trump says he will “Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.” The entire premise of the address is a fiction.
The number of people crossing the U.S./Mexico border without authorization is decreasing, according to a new study by Pew Research.
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on 2016 government data. The decline is due almost entirely to a sharp decrease in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization.
A report by Trump’s Department of Homeland Security said that in fiscal year 2017 it “recorded the lowest level of illegal cross-border migration on record, as measured by apprehensions along the border and inadmissible encounters at U.S. ports of entry.”
The six-person crisis
Over the weekend, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders suggested that 4,000 known or suspected terrorists came into the country through the southern border. These terrorists are creating the “national security crisis” that justifies the shutdown.
The Department of Homeland Security admitted Monday that the actual number of “known or suspected” terrorists identified at the southern border was six.
To put that in context, 41 “known or suspected” terrorists were identified at the Canadian border. So if this is the justification for a wall, it should be built on the northern border first.
The price of vanity
Large media outlets are obsessed with how they are perceived. This was on vivid display in a text sent by a TV news executive to CNN’s Brian Stelter.
He calls us fake news all the time, but needs access to airwaves… If we give him the time, he’ll deliver a fact-free screed without rebuttal. And if we don’t give him the time, he’ll call every network partisan. So we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
Another approach would be to ignore what Trump thinks and focus on the duty to inform the public.
But, sadly, no. Instead, we will suffer through a “fact-free screed.” I fear that Trump will use his national TV time to justify a “national emergency” to justify autocratic action.
Yup. Here’s an update, just one of many reports: Trump Will Take Case for Border Wall to Public in National Address. Every single TV news outlet, including Fox and MSNBC, will be broadcasting Trump’s screed.
"Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime,” said the leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. They said that “if his past statements are any indication,” Mr. Trump’s address “will be full of malice and misinformation.”