Dishonest immigration reporting sways public opinion

Bill D’Agostino of NewsBusters demonstrates that the mainstream media is hiding the facts about our immigration crisis. He also shows that, by doing so, it is causing the public to underestimate the problem and to oppose President Trump’s policies.

For the first proposition — media slant — D’Agostino cites a study by the Media Research Center (MRC) of every ABC, CBS and NBC evening news broadcast from January 1 through May 15 of this year. It found a total of 234 stories that talked about illegal immigration. Less than one-tenth of them (only 22) informed viewers about the dramatically increased rate of illegal crossings. Apprehensions at the U.S. border have surpassed 100,000 per month, an 11-year high.

Indeed, when network journalists talked about numbers, they frequently hid the ball, comparing illegal entry rates not to recent levels, but to the record-high rate way back in 2000. This enabled them to claim, quite misleadingly, that illegal immigration is “decreasing.” Never mind that the current rate is the highest in 11 years.

For example, ABC’s Matt Gutman asserted during the January 8 edition of World News Tonight that immigration rates had “plummeted over the past two decades.” And CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor said, on February 15, “Here is the reality provided by the U.S. government’s own statistics tonight: Apprehensions are down 76 percent from a record high nineteen years ago.”

The influence this dishonest reporting has on the public is manifest from two polls: one by Harvard/Harris, the other by ABC News/Washington Post. The Harvard/Harris poll shows that Americans wildly underestimate the number of illegal aliens entering the United States each month. D’Agostino informs us:

The Harvard/Harris poll found 87 percent of respondents guessed that the number of border apprehensions was significantly lower [than 100,000 per month]. A majority (52%) estimated the rate was less than 100,000 per year, which would make the problem only one-twelfth as serious as it actually is.

Obviously, one’s understanding of the magnitude of illegal immigration influences how one thinks the government should respond. The ABC News/Washington Post poll did not provide data about the extent of illegal entry. 64 percent of respondents in that survey opposed President Trump’s February 15 emergency declaration in order to free up money for barrier construction.

But the Harvard/Harris poll found that when respondents were told the actual rates of illegal immigration, a majority (52 percent) supported Trump’s declaration. In addition, 47 percent of those polled by Harvard/Harris wanted to see current asylum restrictions tightened, while only 19 percent wanted them loosened.

One cannot expect honest reporting by the mainstream media on any hot button issue. Its coverage will always be agenda-driven.

Therefore, I believe President Trump needs to speak directly to the American people about the border crisis. This would include providing accurate data on illegal entry and calling out the media for misleading the public on the subject.

Another televised address to the nation would be a great way to kick off a sustained effort to inform us about the invasion that’s taking place, and about the efforts of Democrats, judges, and the media to prevent the president from stemming that invasion.

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