In the past couple of weeks, New York Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear have made TV appearances to promote their book Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration. In appearances on CNN and MSNBC, anchors have underlined revelations that President Trump suggested the extreme step of government agents shooting immigrants in the legs -- often leaving out the notion that it would be in response to immigrants throwing large rocks...and of course, often leaving out the word "illegal" to characterize the immigrants.
Even the book's title leaves out the "illegal."
But it has been ignored that the Border Patrol Agents Association has argued in favor of allowing agents to shoot at rock throwers since rocks can cause serious injury or death, so such suggestions from President Trump are not as unheard of as liberal journalists make them out to be. If people were throwing large rocks at journalists at Trump rallies, we could at least get them to focus on the violence of the rock throwing.
The book Davis and Shear wrote surprisingly actually does use the term "illegal immigration" a number of times, in contrast with national television news shows that have all but banned the term from use.
On Monday's Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski began the segment:
A recent New York Times report based off a new book revealed exclusive details about President Trump's obsession with immigration, including the desire for an alligator-filled moat to deter migrants. While the President pushed back on that detail, Trump did not mention the reporting that he suggested soldiers shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down.
After Brzezinski failed to clarify that the alleged suggestion to shoot illegal immigrants would have been in response to rock-throwing, her guest, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, eventually brought up the President's public suggestion of shooting rock throwers: "We all heard him publicly say last summer that he wanted people at the border to shoot at migrants who might be throwing rocks."
The previous week, her MSNBC colleague Chris Hayes on his October 2 show similarly brought up the suggestion of shooting "migrants" without initially noting the rock throwing, although he did ask his guest for elaboration, leading Shear to bring up the rock-throwing issue. Here's Hayes:
CHRIS HAYES: Multiple outlets have now confirmed reporting in the New York Times yesterday -- and it was part of a new, forthcoming book about the President and immigration. The key parts of the story are the President's discussion of an insane wall system with, quote, a 'water-filled trench stocked with snakes or alligators,' the President urging Border Patrol agents to commit atrocities such as shooting migrants in the legs...
I want to talk about the context of 'shoot them in the legs' because that's the thing that has stuck with me the most. It's such a violent, grim, and lawless instruction. What was the context?
MICHAEL SHEAR, NEW YORK TIMES: So the context actually started out in the public. If you'll remember, this is when the President is very concerned about caravans coming up from Central America coming to the border. The caravans were -- some people in the caravans were caught throwing rocks at members of the military, and the public mused aloud publicly whether or not the military could just shoot them in response and said, 'If they throw rocks, we'll use rifles."
The officials in his administration raced to get to him and say, 'Mr. President, you can't do that. The use of force guidelines don't allow you to respond -- don't allow the military to respond lethally with rifles in order to repel some folks that are throwing rocks.
Over on CNN's New Day show also on October 2, after a similar discussion of the issue, CNN co-host John Berman was taken aback as he declared: "And I just want to note, the shooting migrants in the legs, that's just an outrageous suggestion to begin with." Naturally, the CNN chyron read "NYT: TRUMP SUGGESTED SHOOTING MIGRANTS IN THE LEGS". No "illegal," no "throwing rocks."
Also last week, as Shear appeared on the October 3 PBS NewsHour, the segment focused on the issue of children being separated from illegal immigrant parents during the zero tolerance policy, but it was never specified that it was immigrants who crossed the border illegally who were targeted. Host Judy Woodruff set up the segment, where Shear talked to co-host Amna Nawaz:
JUDY WOODRUFF: The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of parents and children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration's controversial zero-tolerance policy. In Border Wars, a new book out next week, we get a glimpse into how the administration put that controversial policy in place and look for other ways to keep migrants out.
There are a couple of noteworthy places where the book misleads readers in much the same way as has been commonly seen on liberal cable news,.as the book early on suggests that Trump was motivated by "bigotry" to promote restrictions on immigration, on page 20 repeats the discredited claims that Trump lobbied for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, and that they were proven innocent, neither of which is true. Additionally, on pages 104 and 110, the book also cites one of the studies journalists and other liberals sometimes cite to claim illegal immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans even though this and other studies commonly used do not make a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, as NewsBusters has previously documented.