Homeland Security Secy. Speaks to Reporters as Outrage Grows Over Border Policy
And not just in America: News outlets around the world are also looking askance at what’s happening as a result of the Trump administration’s recent policy change.
Newsrooms have been surging resources to the border region in recent days. Journalists are receiving access to detention centers, albeit with restrictions, and seeing that some children are being kept in cages. Other children are staying in dorm-like settings.
Border story spills into the national spotlight
Among the reasons for the surge of news coverage: President Trump’s lies about the policy, sustained outrage among immigration advocates, and organized protests by Democratic lawmakers.
By Father’s Day, it was the lead story on many newscasts and websites. CNN had multiple crews in the region. And CBS deployed morning show co-host Gayle King to Texas.
“All I can say, after talking to the people, watching the people, listening to the people: the Statue of Liberty, I think, is weeping right now,” King said on Monday’s “CBS This Morning.”
It was the lead story on other morning shows too. “Protests are growing at processing centers nationwide, where those children are being detained,” Hoda Kotb said on NBC’s “Today.”
On CNN, a banner on “New Day” asked, “Will President Trump end family separations today?” Co-host John Berman said “he could pick up the phone and end it right now.”
From one perspective, journalists are speaking up for basic American values — family values — and morality.
“Something disgraceful is happening, something that can be stopped,” CNN anchor Ana Cabrera said Saturday.
This is not a purely partisan issue — many prominent Republicans are joining Democrats in speaking out. Cabrera interviewed Texas Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican, who said “we should not be using kids as a deterrent policy.”
What Trump’s media boosters are saying
There’s some serious pushback from pro-Trump commentators. They say the real scandal is that people are crossing the border illegally in the first place.
On “Fox & Friends,” co-host Steve Doocy disputed whether children at a facility in McAllen, Texas, were really being held in “cages,” the way the Associated Press and other major news outlets said.
Pictures released by Customs and Border Protection on Sunday showed the cages really clearly — contradicting a previous pro-Trump talking point that cages weren’t being used.
At one point on Monday, Doocy said the authorities simply “built walls out of chain-link fences.” He also said it looks “more like a security pen to me.” But he said he recognized why some people called them “cages.”
The new fallback position is that the Obama administration used the same kinds of facilities to hold unaccompanied minors.
There’s also a lot of media-bashing going on. On Monday morning, Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told people in a speech not to believe what they’re seeing.
“It’s important to understand that these minors are very well taken care of. Don’t believe the press,” she said.
“Fox & Friends” leaned heavily on Nielsen’s Sunday tweet claiming there’s “no policy of separating families at the border.” Elsewhere, the tweet was widely criticized as an example of doublespeak.