Demonstrating media bias in the age of President Trump is about as low as low-hanging fruit can get. It is only slightly easier to find water in the middle in the Atlantic Ocean. His chaotic and (at times) infuriating Presidency has served a noble purpose insofar as it has blown the lid of the thin veneer of impartiality that some outlets had been clinging on to like remoras.
But today produced an example that I couldn’t let go of. Mostly because it involved so many outlets saying the same thing. A “narrative,” if you will. And it was packaged with the savvy of a Madison Avenue marketing campaign to elicit maximum consumer engagement.
Fort Sill, Oklahoma is a sprawling Army munitions base that has been open for well over a century. During World War II, it served as one of the sites where interned Japanese-Americans were held under orders from President Roosevelt.
This week, the Trump administration announced plans to temporarily house 1,400 migrant children at the base. But the headlines this morning in many major outlets were constructed so as to make the consumer feel that Trump was rounding up children and sending them to Concentration Camps. Here are just a few examples.
The Hill: “Trump administration to send migrant children to former Japanese internment camp”
CBS News: “Migrant children will be kept at Army base used as a Japanese internment camp in World War II”
Time Magazine: “Trump Administration to hold migrant children at base that once house interned Japanese.
Now, in true media fashion, if you read beyond the headline you discover that the fact that the base was once used for FDR’s infamous internment efforts is mere intrigue. Really, it’s not salient to the story at all. But the trivial connection offered Trump-hating media outlets a chance they could not pass up—a chance to link Trump with some of the darkest days in history. Honestly, I’m surprised some of them did accompany their news tweets with images from Auschwitz or Dachau.
If this were the extent of the story, that would be plenty bad. But there is another element that makes it altogether infuriating. You see, in 2014, migrant children were housed temporarily at Fort Sill-Oklahoma, and not a single media outlet brought up the specter of them being herded into concentration camps. Why? Because Barack Obama was President. In 2014 Fort Sill’s status as a “former Japanese Internment Camp” was still intact. But it curiously didn’t make it into news headlines from the day. I have run multiple search engine checks and have found nothing. Curious, no?
Of course the carefully-crafted headlines have done their work. They also served as a clarion call for lefty luminaries to weigh in and got their shots in at Trump. Socialist Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ self-righteous pablum was representative of the outrage.
The internment of Japanese Americans is a stain on our history. It abhorrent that 75 years later, this administration now wants to hold migrant children in one of those same camps. We will look back on Trump’s racist child prisons as an abomination.
I did a similar check and found nothing from Bernie in 2014 that held the Obama Administration similarly accountable. Very strange.
Fake News doesn’t have to be factually incorrect. It just has to present facts in a manner that consciously advances a narrative. This is also achieved by OMITTING crucial facts. Today offered a sterling and sickening example of that.
Tomorrow, many of the same agencies that vomited out this vile garbage today will claim they are victimized when Trump says something mean about them. I will not go as far as Trump and call the Media an “Enemy of the People.” But they sure as hell aren’t our friends.