ABC, CBS Overreact to Trump’s Immigration Comment, Muir Misquotes

President Donald Trump sent ABC and CBS off the rails Thursday when he made public statements about the efficiency of this deportation operations. Trump described the program as running like a “military operation,” which any normal person would understand was a figure of speech. But to ABC anchor David Muir it gave him license to fly off the handle and falsely claim, during the opening tease of World News Tonight, “Tonight, President Trump calls it ‘a military operation on the border.’ The immigration crackdown.

And that wasn’t the only time Muir used that false quote. He used it again during the lead into the segment about the story. “We begin with the simmering tension across this country. Those for and against President Trump's immigration crackdown,” Muir asserted, “And today, the President called it ‘a military operation at the border.’

But Trump really said was: “We're getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before, and they’re the bad ones. And it's a military operation.” No mention of “on the border” at all, which wouldn’t make sense anyway since deportation raids are occurring all over the country.

Muir has an addiction to hyperbolic flourishes as demonstrated Tuesday night when he announced that, “Tonight, President Trump's immigration crackdown revealed. The new and sweeping plan to deport undocumented immigrants across this country. Who will be targeted?”

ABC reporter Matt Gutman even treated Muir’s quote as fact stating, “A military operation? Not according to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.” “No. Repeat, no use of military force in immigration operations. None,” Secretary Kelly exclaimed to the press, obviously trying to make sure they don’t run with the story ABC and CBS ended up pushing.

A similar thing occurred during CBS Evening News when reporter Margaret Brennan also treated the comment as more than describing law enforcement’s efficiency. “Well, the President sent his secretaries of state and homeland security south of the border to reassure officials there that illegal immigrants will be treated humanely when they're deported from the U.S. to Mexico,” she reported, “But the President today caused some confusion himself when he suggested using the U.S. military to expel them.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer took it the podium in the White House Briefing Room and explained to the press that the President was using a figure of speech, or an “adjective” as he put it. But Brennan sounded skeptical, telling CBS anchor Scott Pelley, “The White House later tried to clarify saying the President meant military operation as an adjective to describe what they say is an efficient rate of deportation.

Treating Trump’s statement as more than what it was, at best, makes the President look like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about or how his operation is running. At worst, it created, even more, fear for people who think the military is going roll into their neighborhoods and start kicking down doors. Either way, it only benefits the liberal media’s narrative against the Trump administration.

It’s a good thing they didn’t take Trump’s description of his administration being a “fine-tuned machine” too literally or they may have started to claim he was building a giant robot. 

Transcripts below:

ABC
World News Tonight
February 23, 2017
6:30:16 PM Eastern

[Tease]

DAVID MUIR: Tonight, President Trump calls it “a military operation on the border.” The immigration crackdown. But his own Homeland Security Secretary, General John Kelly says that's not the case. The White House late today is asked, is this a military operation?

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6:31:08 PM Eastern

MUIR: Good evening, and we have several developing stories tonight, and we begin with the simmering tension across this country. Those for and against President Trump's immigration crackdown. And today, the President called it “a military operation at the border.” But after he offered those words during a meeting at the White House, his own homeland security secretary had very different words about the operation. So which is it? ABC's Matt Gutman on the crackdown and how it's being enforced. He’s not far from the border in Arizona tonight.

[Cuts to video]

MATT GUTMAN: At the White House today, President Trump declaring his new immigration crackdown a roaring success.

DONALD TRUMP: We're getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before, and they’re the bad ones. And it's a military operation.

GUTMAN: A military operation? Not according to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

JOHN KELLY: No. Repeat, no use of military force in immigration operations. None.

GUTMAN: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later asked to clarify what the president meant by military operation.

SEAN SPICER: The president was using that as an adjective. It's happening with precision.

GUTMAN: Tonight the Department of Homeland Security telling us it doesn't have the data available to support the president's claim. Secretary Kelly in Mexico with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. A diplomatic mission. Ahead of their visit, a replica of the President’ proposed border wall burned in Vera Cruz. Mexico also furious with the administration's new plan to deport some undocumented immigrants to Mexico even if they’re not Mexican.

KELLY: Let me be very, very clear. There will be no, repeat, no, mass deportations.

...

CBS Evening News
February 23, 2017
6:34:11 PM Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Margaret Brennan is joining us at the White House. Margaret, there was some confusion today on immigration. The President said one thing, and then his homeland security secretary rushed out and said another.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. Well, the President sent his secretaries of state and homeland security south of the border to reassure officials there that illegal immigrants will be treated humanely when they're deported from the U.S. to Mexico. But the President today caused some confusion himself when he suggested using the U.S. military to expel them.

DONALD TRUMP: We're getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before. And they're the bad ones. And it's a military operation.

JOHN KELLY: No. Repeat: No use of military force in immigration operations. None.

BRENNAN: The White House later tried to clarify saying the President meant military operation as an adjective to describe what they say is an efficient rate of deportation. Scott.

PELLEY: Margaret Brennan for us tonight. Margaret. Thank you.

CyberAlerts Foreign Policy Mexico Government Agencies Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Covert Liberal Activists Labeling Military ABC World News CBS CBS Evening News Video Matt Gutman David Muir Margaret Brennan Donald Trump