The mainstream media yesterday discarded whatever credibility it had left in its coverage of an executive order from Donald Trump.
This is an editorial from IPR owner Warren Redlich. I am certainly not pro-Trump (currently suing three of his surrogates), nor do I agree with Trump’s policies, but I am pro-truth.
The media’s disregard of basic facts is stunning:
Major media outlets persistently refer to the executive order as a “Muslim ban”. The word Muslim does not appear in the order. It is a temporary hold on all immigrants – not just Muslims – from 7 specific countries. While those countries are majority Muslim, there are 51 Muslim-majority countries in the world and 72 countries with Muslim populations of 1 million or more.
Countless headlines note that the list does not include countries with whom Trump has business ties. These articles imply that Trump decided which countries would be on the list. The executive order refers to a list of “countries of concern” for terrorism determined by Congress, the Secretary of State and the Department of Homeland Security. The Obama administration maintained that list for the past eight years and Obama’s DHS added Libya, Somalia and Yemen to the list in 2016.
The media shed any sense of balanced reporting by ignoring Obama’s role in deciding who was on the list.
The Wall Street Journal took a different angle by referring to it as a “refugee ban.” This also appears grossly inaccurate since the order is far broader than just refugees:
I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order
It is well worth noting in this venue that the libertarian Reason magazine chose accuracy:
Reason was also on top of this issue when the Obama administration was doing much the same, stopping a British-Iranian journalist working for the BBC from entering the US. Rana Rahimpour’s ordeal received far less attention from the mainstream media in the US.
Mother Jones did a little better than most by putting “Muslim ban” in quotes and was more accurate in its description of the order.
The Nation was similarly more accurate in its description but its headlines were unsurprisingly more biased.
The term “post-truth” is often applied accurately to President Trump. Sadly this disregard for the truth is growing and spreading.