The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Fake News, Real Hate

Posted on | September 2, 2018 | Comments Off on Fake News, Real Hate


When President Trump attacks the liberal media as “fake news,” this is treated by the media as a threat to freedom of the press. However, it is the press itself which, by its deliberately one-sided partisan approach to news, is destroying its own credibility. The transparent biases of the media — e.g., CNN’s role as the “Clinton News Network” in 2016 — are not merely harmful to their own journalistic integrity; they are a threat to democracy itself. “Fake news” is bad for America.

Consider the case of a Washington Post article about efforts by U.S. immigration officials to prevent illegal entry into the country by those using fraudulent documents. This article by Kevin Sieff claims that “U.S. citizens are increasingly being swept up by immigration enforcement agencies.” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert denounced the Post article as “dishonest,” and declared: “This is an irresponsible attempt to create division and stoke fear among American citizens while attempting to inflame tensions over immigration.”

The central claim of Sieff’s article — that there is a “surging” number of people being denied U.S. passports as part of a Trump administration “crackdown” — is false. According to State Department figures, the approval rate for passport applications involving disputed birth certificates has actually increased, from 64.1% in 2014 to 74.2% so far in 2018. Obviously, passport denials cannot be “surging,” if the approval rate is increasing; Seiff’s article is therefore “fake news” — partisan propaganda, an anti-Trump hit job disguised as journalism.

Sieff constructed a textbook example of fraudulent “reporting.” For example, he treats as authoritative the claims of two immigration lawyers in Texas, one of whom says that cases of denied passports are “skyrocketing,” and another who asserts that he is aware of “probably 20 people” who are U.S. citizens that have been sent to “detention centers” by the Trump administration. These anecdotal claims were accepted as fact by Sieff, who nevertheless was unable to identify even one such case by name, so it is impossible to verify if any such cases actually exist.

What is the truth? State Department spokeswoman Nauert explained:

For decades, some midwives and physicians along the Mexico-U.S. border provided United States birth certificates to babies actually born in Mexico. Many questions related to fraudulent birth certificates . . . were documented during the 2009 proceedings of Castelano v. Clinton, in which midwives admitted to issuing fraudulent birth documents.
Midwives falsely reporting births in exchange for compensation is an old problem that is not unique to the Trump administration. In fact, thie administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama denied passports in these cases as a result.

As evidence, Nauert was able to cite the trustworthy journalism of (wait for it) the Washington Post, which in September 2008 reported:

The federal government won convictions against dozens of South Texas midwives from 1967 through 1997 for fraudulently registering births that they did not deliver, a U.S. official said, with most convictions coming after 1980.
An INS list last updated in October 2002 identifies at least 65 midwives who have been convicted of fraud since the 1960s. U.S. officials previously said cases in the 1990s uncovered forgeries for about 15,000 people born in Mexico.

So the fake birth certificate problem dates back at least to the 1960s, and this issue was covered by the Post a decade ago.  Yet somehow, in 2018, editors at the Post apparently didn’t bother to check their own archives, nor did they give the State Department adequate opportunity to respond to the “reporting” of Seiff, who constructed a bogus tale of “surging” passport denials, based on anecdotes by immigration lawyers.

The legal case mentioned by Nauert involved a class-action lawsuit against the federal government when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, which is why it was called Castelano v. Clinton. (Read the final 2009 settlement here.) The fact is that there were many thousands of people who were born in Mexico, but their parents bribed midwives and doctors in Texas to provide these Mexican babies with phony U.S. birth certificates. Obviously, most of these fake birth certificate cases would have been steadily weeded out over the years, so that common sense tells us that such cases cannot be suddenly “surging” in 2018. Yet facts and common sense play no part in the kind of “journalism” now produced by the anti-Trump “fake news” industry, which will resort to any means necessary to manufacture libels against the President.

The phony Post story quickly ricocheted around the Internet. It was promoted on Twitter by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and, in turn, this prompted a threat by Arizona Democrat Rep. Reuben Gallegos:

If you are a US government official and you are deporting Americans be warned. When the worm turns you will not be safe because you were just following orders. You do not have to take part in illegal acts ordered by this President’s administration.

This is startling: Federal officials being threatened with some kind of reprisal by a member of Congress who has been led to believe, by a misleading story from the “fake news” media, that “this President’s administration” is engaged in deporting American citizens. Officials who are “following orders” in the Trump administration “will not be safe,” according to Gallegos, because they are engaged in “illegal acts.”

The dishonest “journalism” of the Washington Post has thereby yielded exactly what it was intended to produce: Hatred.

What will be consequences for America if, for the purposes of partisan politics, journalists continue producing this kind of hate propaganda, false stories intended to incite hatred of Republicans?

No honest person can blame Trump or his supporters for this sad state of affairs. In 2016, the liberal media went “all-in” betting on Hillary Clinton to win the White House and, when 63 million voters answered, “Hell, no,” this led the media to double-down on their lost wager. Having failed to prevent Trump’s election, now the “fake news” media are seeking to sabotage his presidency, which they regard as illegitimate.

Nothing good can come of this, either for the media or for the Democrats, and “fake news” is a danger to America as a nation. We shall become divided against each other, with those who believe the media’s lies on one side, and those who defend the truth on the other side.

“Truth is great and will prevail.” Never doubt it.

(Hat-tip: Instapundit.)



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