The media is going crazy about the Trump policy of “ripping babies from the breasts of nursing mothers” and separating parents from their “innocent” children, housing children in “tent cities,” and the Gestapo-like tactics of the Trump administration which are condemned by “moderate” Republicans, some “evangelicals,” and even some Texas Republicans. Other than vague defenses, you’d think there is universal outrage over this “un-American” practice. And if you read the Liberal media, the outrage is universal, even though Conservatives know that the outrage is also fueled by the goal of increasing Democrat election results in the midterms, and perhaps trying to impeach President Trump (if all things go well for the Democrats, that is.)
In Public Editor, I am not going to be writing stories about the news directly. My role is to comment on the media bias, false statements, and lack of balance in covering Republicans in general and President Donald Trump in particular. The media is unhinged, and it would be a national tragedy if it weren’t for the fact that so many Americans have already tuned out the media because of their bias (among other reasons.)
One of the things I like is analogies. I find them very useful to argue positions, but of course they can’t be taken literally. They are meant to be instructive, to show an underlying point in a different way. So this article’s analogy will be about the word “false,” as used in the June 18th Boston Globe front-page story “Taking Kennedy legacy to border fight,” by Liz Goodwin, and the unsigned news article (which we can safely call an opinion piece, because of the use of this word) on page A7, “‘Both Sides’ must solve crisis, says first lady,” from the New York Times Syndicate.
In the Goodwin piece, she writes, “Outrage over the policy has grown, with Trump…falsely claiming that Democrats…are to blame for his own policy.” The Times piece writes, “The president has falsely blamed Democrats for the situation, saying he’s simply enforcing the law they wrote. But no law requires families to necessarily be separated at the border.”
The New York Times, the Boston Globe, and Liz Goodwin are misusing the word “false,” using it as a statement of fact rather than an opinion. If I say “I believe the Moon is made of Cream Cheese,” that is neither true nor false, unless one knows the state of my mind. Perhaps I am delusional and I really think the moon is made of cheese, in which case my statement is true, even though my belief is in error.
Sometimes “I believe” is understood. If I say “green is the best color” then that is neither true nor false, it is an opinion. (It does happen to be true, by the way.)
So here is my analogy and it has to do with a free lunch. Let’s say I am walking down the street and I meet Bob, a friend. And Bob says, “Hi Allen, it’s been a long time. Here’s $20, go buy yourself lunch.” And off Bob walks. Did Bob just buy me lunch?
Let’s say I walk into the nearest cafe and order a steak with all the fixings, and it costs $25. Did Bob buy me that lunch? Can you make such a determination from the facts as given so far? What if last week Bob owed me $100 and he “bought me lunch” for $20 today. I then go home and eat leftovers. What if I pay for the steak lunch with my credit card and Bob’s $20 bill stays in my pocket. Since Bob gave me the $20, does he get to determine what that money is spent for by his statement when he donated it?
What if I was on my way to the hospital for a heart transplant and Bob gave me $20 and told me “Good luck with your operation, I’m happy to contribute.” Does that mean I (partly) owe my life to Bob because he helped fund my surgery?
President Trump and his administration have their beliefs about how the immigration laws work, who has passed and enforced the laws, how they are enforced, the history of the various laws, and how to interpret the law. These are very complicated questions that don’t yield easy answers and are very hard to categorize as “false claims” when so much of these issues are based on opinions. But when we know the press is in league with the Democrat party, when they send reporters to cover locally elected Democrats speaking at border protests thousands of miles away, when they selectively write their supporting articles to praise the politicians and policies they support, and then when they use “false” fact claims in the articles themselves which fatally bias them, readers have a right to be upset at being manipulated and lied to. And they are being misled by the Globe, the Times, and their editors when the papers are part of a campaign meant to influence public policy and one side of the debate, in order to help elect allies to public office. The whole thing stinks.
The Kennedy article by Goodwin is extremely one-sided and misleading, with selective quotes and Kennedy-family fawning, the norm for the Globe.
Just to set the record straight, let me explain why President Trump’s statement is not “false.” I will give several examples, only one of which needs to be true to completely rebut the statement. (“False” is a word that is so polarizing and damaging that one only needs one argument to show it is not true.)
The policy of allowing families to cross the border and not allowing children to be jailed is what is separating families. The illegal act of crossing the border is the cause of the separation. Zero families that stayed on the Mexican side of the border would be separated, and mothers would be free to nurse their infants to their hearts’ content if they didn’t illegally cross the border.
The law that does not allow detention of adults with children is one that could be changed immediately, but Democrats would rather allow the separations than change the law to stop them, in part because they feel they have an issue that might polarize enough voters to help them in the next election. Like the “Dreamers” whom the Democrats seem to have dropped as a concern once President Trump offered a compromise solution in his State of the Union address, these family separations are not the issue for the Democrats since they could immediately stop them by agreeing to back legislation to do so without any other issues involved. President Trump has publicly said he doesn’t like the separations so he would likely sign such a bill. If the Democrats supported a bill allowing families to stay intact while detained, and it had no other provisions, and Trump vetoed such a bill, then maybe you could lay the full blame for the policy on Trump’s doorstep. Therefore, the Democrats are at least equally to blame for lack of such a policy on humanitarian grounds as the Republicans.
The claim that it is unconscionable and un-American to separate families when the adults have broken the law is false. We do it every day when adults are jailed and they are not left to watch their children, and it is called foster care and guardianships.
These laws have been on the books for many years. They prevent jailing children when their parents cross the border illegally. But past administrations have concluded that the only way to follow the law was to release the parents and children into the country despite their illegal entry. That is allowing the illegal entrants a loophole that they have obviously learned to exploit. Deciding to enforce the law and have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal immigrants is what Trump campaigned on and if the consequences of this is to close the loophole that allows illegal families from gaining entry while other illegals are stopped and jailed or deported, then that is using the law as it is written. It is not “Trump’s” law. So the argument that it is Trump’s decision to enforce the law is disingenuous.
Even if one were to feel that housing thousands of children separately from their parents is bad policy and we should just let all illegal families into the country, Trump is following the policies and beliefs of his candidacy and election. The specific issue of separating families is easily fixed in a bipartisan manner if that is truly the concern. If the Democrats refuse to fix the issue because they see it as a political winner, or they want to attach other riders related to immigration to the fix that are unpalatable to Trump or the Republicans, they can’t then claim that it is all “Trump’s fault” for the enforcement of the law as Trump and his team interpret it. Trump believes that closing this loophole will reduce illegal immigration once word gets out that the loophole has been closed so he has a rational purpose for a strict enforcement policy. But Trump’s belief that the Democrats are blocking a narrow solution for this specific problem means that his statement that the Democrats are to blame is true. It is his belief and it is not like believing that the moon is made of cream cheese. It is rationally based.
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