For the past month, talking heads on CNN and MSNBC have repeated numerous outright falsehoods about the Central American caravan: namely, that it is comprised of “mostly women and children”; that there is “no evidence” of criminals participating; and that none of those marching north are “economic migrants.” An MRC analysis of cable news coverage also identified eight instances in which panelists brazenly claimed that the existence of the caravan was itself a conspiracy theory.
Below is a video documenting just some of the numerous narratives about the caravan that cable pundits have been pushing:
For all their adamance, these cable news personalities have repeatedly failed to acknowledge statements from Mexican officials and DHS reports about the makeup of the Central American caravan:
Mexican Interior Minister Navarrete Prida in an October 30 interview on Radio Enfoque (Focus) 100.1 FM substantiated DHS’s assertion of gang members in the caravan: “I have videos from Guatemala that show men dressed in identical clothing, sporting the same haircuts, handing out money to women to persuade them to move to the front of the caravan… we have images showing many of them preparing Molotov cocktails.”
Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez recently confirmed the presence of a criminal element in the caravan. As of November 1, DHS had identified at least 270 individuals in the caravan with criminal backgrounds, according to a press release from the department.
There have been reports of migrants committing crime against fellow caravan members. As reported by numerous news outlets – including the Washington Post – on October 29, a man in the caravan attempted to abduct a child who was also making the trip north. That same piece from the Post also describes cocaine and marijuana being sold openly.
The ranks of those burying this information includes not just frequent panelists, but CNN and MSNBC employees as well. CNN chief political analyst Jeff Toobin on New Day November 3 complained of President Trump: “He’s got this fantasy of this caravan.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was a repeat-offender of the pernicious lie that the caravan did not even exist, using the phrase “phony caravan” multiple times in late October and insisting that the story had been “cooked up” by Republicans and conservative media.
Meanwhile, during the October 23 episode of MTP Daily, Chuck Todd of MSNBC insisted that there was “no evidence of any criminals in the Central American caravan.”
On November 1, CNN political commentator Symone Sanders shouted over former McCain presidential campaign adviser Adolfo Franco when he claimed (accurately) that the caravan was being supported by an NGO called Pueblo Sin Fronteras: “This is — stop, stop, this a conspiracy theory. This is a lie, Jake. This is a conspiracy theory.”
Liberal cable media are hellbent on maintaining as positive an image of the caravan as possible, as demonstrated by their refusal to acknowledge any evidence that might conflict with their sympathetic reporting. At best, this narrative-weaving on CNN and MSNBC betrays a reckless ignorance of the facts; at worst, it constitutes deliberate mendacity.