Michael Maiello's picture

    If It Cries in Terror, It Doesn't Lead

    Last night I was on the Twitter and started seeing photos of children on Mexico's side of the border with the United States running from clouds of tear gas. The photos I saw were distributed by Reuters and it was clearly reported that tear gas had been fired into Mexico by agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and I found other outlets reporting that rubber bullets (which can be lethal) were also fired.

    Those migrants attempting to cross the border were hopeful, apparently in vain, in that if they reached US soil they would be able to at least stay in the US while their claims for asylum were considered. In any event, the migrants were unarmed, though Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen claimed that some were throwing rocks.  It seemed to me like an extreme response and that coverage of the incident should really focus on whether or not such a use of force was necessary or appropriate.

    Boy, was I disappointed.  I switched to CNN last night, where the use of tear gas, though at that point verified and documented by Reuters, was referred to with softeners like "reports of" and "alleged use." The narrative CNN offered was that the members of the migrant caravan had defied Mexico's federal police force and had attempted to breach the border.  The U.S. response was presented as without question justified.  The CNN anchor even repeatedly asked guests whether or not this incident justified Trump's decision to send military forces to the area. One guest, described as a former advisor to Bill Clinton on immigration issues made unchallenged statements about who was "funding" the caravan and speculating about its political purpose.

    Over a few hours of watching CNN, I did not get any sense of the real story which is that asylum seekers came to the US border and were teargassed for it.

    The New York Times didn't do much better.  Their story is headlined "Migrants Rush U.S. Border in Tijuana but Fall Back in the Face of Tear Gas."  One would think that the tear gas is some sort of hero in this story. The Times does quote a tweet from Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz that says "Tear gas across the border against unarmed families is a new low." But this is just presented as a point of view among many when it should be the centerpiece of a real watchdog story.

    I'm not sure if this is just another example of mainstream media showing deference to law enforcement (an all too old and real problem) or an example of a media low on outrage capacity after so many outrages in a 2 year period, but we have reached a point where there just isn't much scrutiny over questionable acts by the government and the mainstream media seems... complicit.



    To be brutally honest, as a long time new junkie, the whole damn caravan thing seems to be so absurd that if I didn't know better how clueless and incompetent TrumpCo is, I would think it a conspiracy. As in: even illiterate Central Americans would know by last year that Trump is viciously anti-immigrant and there is anti-immigrant fervor bubbling up everywhere and that overall the U.S. right now is not in the mood for open arms welcome of refugees of any type. Soooo, who thought a mass march to the border through Mexico would change things? Who was instigating this thing as if they did not realize that it would cause nasty backlash of some type or another. Why would the U.S. in this mood at this point in time want to accept a mass of refugees when they knew even Mexico wouldn't? Venezuelans arguably had it worse, and they didn't start a mass march on the U.S. border. This thing is just all very strange, it just doesn't strike me as everything being kosher here. As in: someone with the political sympathies the opposite of Soros being an instigator here. As in: they were given this idea so that they could be tear gassed, so someone could look like they were being tough about the southern border.

    Paid protesters? Tell me it ain't so, Joe.

    and...and....and I wondered why starving Yemen Houthis hadn't sailed their dhows to Miami so they could riot for free casino buffets....Roger Stone never paid them to !

    "Follow the Money" vs "Show me the Money".


    this story is more grist for my conspiratorial mill

    "We’re here alone, hungry, unprotected.” Regrets build on the border, @el_reportero reports https://t.co/97baEoQ8mt

    — Justin Miller (@justinjm1) November 28, 2018

    how come the caravan folks still think the following?

    But the tough treatment at the border brought home a rude reality for many migrants in the caravan: that their idealized vision of the United States—a kind and just country willing to welcome people wanting nothing more than to work or seek safety—has put obstacles in their path

    Mexicans understood long ago that was not the situation anymore, maybe even before Trump, that's part of the reason U.S. Seeing Lowest Level Of Unauthorized Immigrants In A Decade. Certainly once he was inaugurated, it is big news among the immigrant community about his crackdowns and the protests, too. It's not like they have to read newspapers to know this, it travels word of mouth in the emigre communities to back home. It is all very strange.

    Edit to add: apologies, Michael, if you think this is a distraction from your issue of use of tear gas on children,  no argument from me about it being a disgusting thing and deserving attention.

    Don't worry.  I share you sense of intrigue.

    But I do think the gassing children is the real story that's been ignored.

    My hunch gets some backing:


    A Mysterious Imposter Account Was Used On Facebook To Drum Up Support For The Migrant Caravan - pretty shocking scoop from ⁦@kenbensinger⁩ and ⁦@karlazabshttps://t.co/TtFKTeYfBd

    — grace wyler (@grace_lightning) December 14, 2018


    most notably this:

    Fuentes first learned about the phony account from Irineo Mujica, who represents Pueblo Sin Fronteras and has organized previous caravans.

    In an interview, Mujica said the group had been against the caravan because of the likelihood it would be used to stir up anti-immigrant sentiment in the lead-up to the midterms.

    That’s why he was so infuriated by the Facebook messages claiming he not only supported the caravan but would personally be traveling to Honduras to lead it out of San Pedro Sula. But once the caravan attained critical mass, Pueblo Sin Fronteras decided to show support, albeit from the sidelines.

    Someone went out of their way to make things "go viral" when it wasn't really a wise thing to do and leaders knew it. It is so typical of many stories I read from poorer communities in Latin America. A minority have internet skills and access but not a lot of savviness about what to believe, and things travel fast from those to many others by word of mouth.

    It just didn't make sense. The antipathy towards immigrants in the U.S. right now is widely known in like Mexico. Maybe even overplayed. They stopped trying to come unless sneaking in somehow, the numbers show it. Why would this crowd think Trump would let them in, especially in a mass caravan form for all to see? Just doesn't make sense unless someone went out of their way to convince otherwise.

    Did they grab them by the ...? Were the asking for it, begging for it? These Trump narratives, they're like not even narratives, just a drop of mad sunshine in an already soiled pool.

    you liberals: never satisfied. guy finally learns people don't like it, is BAD, when children are separated from their parents (self aware!!!) and you're not impressed! NOT FAIR! WITCH HUNT!

    "Libtard", please - I worked hard for the moniker and deserve to hosted by my own p'tard.

    But it's not just Trump.  I expect this from him.  CNN's Chris Cuomo blathered about how we shouldn't demonize the Customs and Border Patrol people who fired tear gas at children because they're just doing their jobs.  Oh, and Chris has been teargassed before.  No biggie!

    I blame Pancho...Image result for pancho villa


    Never there when you need him...What ever happened to sovereignty? 


    Coincidentally, today the guy who put 10 bullets (over the border and) into he back of a 15 year old boy who was guilty of being in the vicinity of stone throwers was acquitted of murder and the jury hung on the lesser includeds.


    AMLO, show the yanqui who is boss...no, wail, let me rethink/rephrase...

    Considering how the prospect of Palestinian complaints to the UN over Israeli war crimes has the US foreign policy shop staining their shorts, one might perhaps hope someday to enjoy the sight of AMLO striding to the podium to make the appropriate accusations.


    Thank you.

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