When CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted a selfie video from the U.S.-Mexico border, he was roundly mocked and ridiculed for claiming he saw no “crisis” at the “tranquil” spot where he stood. Of course he didn’t. Because where he stood was on the safe side of a steel barrier protecting him (and the rest of America) from illegal border crossings.
If President Trump’s policies for border protection were to be enacted, there’d be hundreds of more places on the border protected as safely as that spot where Mr. Acosta stood. Sadly, Mr. Acosta’s buffoonery was merely a blatant example of the sad, slanted coverage found in most of the mainstream media over the past several weeks.
From cable news and the broadcast networks to all the major print publications, the national debate over border security has been reduced to the kind of coverage one sees on NFL pregame shows with analysts talking about who has the upper hand, who will “win” and who will be politically damaged or enhanced from the showdown over the partial government shutdown.
When Democrat leaders appear for interviews on the topic, they always return to the same talking point that they “want border security” but they oppose the “ineffective” wall or fence. Nowhere are the obvious challenges to these contradictory statements.
Here are some simple follow-up questions journalists should be asking Democrats rather than letting them deceive the public with their hollow rhetoric.
• “When you say you support border security, please be specific. Do you mean you support a policy that prevents the illegal crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border?”
Of course, this seems like an illogical question, but it’s very important because too often Democrats get credit for spending tax dollars on border security while the money never actual goes to anything that prevents illegal crossings. The money goes to more agents and facilities that aid the processing of illegal aliens who have crossed the border, have been apprehended, and must be sheltered and supported as they go through the long, bureaucratic ordeal of processing their dubious asylum claims.
That is not border security in the way most Americans envision it.
• “When you say you favor high-tech solutions like drones and sensors rather than a wall or fence, can you explain how a drone or sensor will prevent a person from illegally crossing the border?”
Again, a very important follow-up that will elicit a response that won’t pass the smell test with most voters. It sounds so cool to say you favor high-tech solutions like drones, but think it through for a moment and you’ll see that a drone in no way can prevent illegal crossings. All a drone does is observe and track a person as he crosses the border. The drone can help the Border Patrol find illegal aliens as they make their way through the desert, but once apprehended, the asylum claim is made and the legal quagmire begins. (Most don’t show up for their hearings at all, and just blend right in.)
• “If walls don’t work and are an old, ineffective solution, do you favor removing the walls and fences that are currently at the border?”
Credit to Fox News’ Bret Baier who challenged House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer on Wednesday night with this very question. The Maryland Democrat’s response opened an existing and widening fissure within the leadership of the Democratic Party on this issue.
“Obviously, they work some places,” Mr. Hoyer said. “But the president wanted to first build a wall apparently 1,954 miles of — and he changed that very substantially.” In other words, Mr. Hoyer just conceded that the president has already moved from his position to meet the Democrats in the middle.
“A wall is — that protects people is not immoral. I think the issue is whether it works And the debate ought to be not on morality or racism,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s No. 2 said, directly contradicting the party leader who called border walls “immoral.”
The facts, which the mainstream media have almost no interest in reporting to the American people, show exactly how the existing border barriers work. From San Diego to Tucson to Yuma, illegal border crossings dropped significantly wherever a barrier has been built.
If journalists really wish to engage their audience with facts and a fair debate over this issue, they’ll start raising these points but don’t hold your breath. At this point, they want little to do with informing the public and everything to do with the partisan fight to defeat President Trump.
It’s a pity because if a nation can’t have a serious, informed conversation over the protection of its own borders, one wonders what we can talk about.
• Larry O’Connor writes about politics and the media for The Washington Times and can be heard weekday afternoons on WMAL radio in Washington. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryOConnor.
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