On the front page of Tuesday’s New York Times, reporter Jeremy Peters committed a “news analysis” that basically blamed Trump for stoking the recent pipe bomb attack against Democrats and anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh: “Caravan Rhetoric Intersects With Deadly Hatred -- President Stokes Same Fears That Appear to Drive Attacks.”
The online headline made the connection even more explicit with “How Trump-Fed Conspiracies About Migrant Caravan Intersect With Deadly Hatred”:
For the last two weeks, Mr. Trump and his conservative allies have operated largely in tandem on social media and elsewhere to push alarmist, conspiratorial warnings about the migrant caravan more than 2,000 miles from the border. They have largely succeeded in animating Republican voters like [Alicia] Hooten around the idea of these foreign nationals posing a dire threat to the country’s security, stability and identity.
But as the country processes the cumulative trauma of two actual crises that occurred inside its borders -- a spate of pipe bombs sent to the president’s political opponents, and the massacre of 11 people at a synagogue by a man who spewed anti-Semitic vitriol and called immigrants “invaders” -- there is clear overlap between the hatred and delusion that drove this lethal behavior and the paranoia and misinformation surrounding the caravan.
Robert Bowers, who was arrested in the assault on the Pittsburgh synagogue, also pushed online conspiracy theories about the migrant caravan, in addition to anti-Semitic diatribes.
Bowers actually despised Trump for not being anti-Semitic, but Peters skipped that detail. And as journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty pointed out, “this individual’s enmity against the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was entirely the product of his own research and self-radicalization, not a message passed subliminally to him through Fox News.”
For years the Times has aided and abetted liberals who called Republican politicians “fascist” and racist and sexist, and blamed Republican politicians for murderous attacks, from citing the Tea Party for a possible repeat of the Oklahoma City bombing to the deadly shooting that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Now, suddenly, the paper is now very concerned about harsh and exaggerated language being injected into the political debate and wonder if it could stir up violent attacks (a consideration the paper didn’t mention after a Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer tried to assassinate Republican congressmen on a baseball field in 2017):
With the kind of dark language usually reserved for true catastrophes like the Sept. 11 attacks, conservative commentators and politicians have led a concerted push to elevate the caravan as an issue. They have called it “an invasion,” “a national emergency,” “an illegal alien mob,” “an attack on America” and a crisis with implications that are “critical to the future of our civilization.”
These outcries, which have included unfounded claims about the caravan’s origins and wildly fluctuating estimates of its size, are playing out in a clear pattern. They often start with right-wing commentators, conspiracy theorists and activist groups with large followings; their talk then breaks through more broadly on Fox News, Breitbart News and other outlets that are popular with conservative voters; and ultimately Mr. Trump tweets or remarks about them, acting as an amplifier and a validator.
And then this paragraph was oddly worded:
On Oct. 18, Judicial Watch, a conservative group that spends much of its time on endeavors like lawsuits to retrieve documents from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state and investigations of alleged voter fraud, published a piece on the Guatemalan president’s statement, warning: “Why should Americans care about this? A caravan of Central American migrants is making its way north.”
In other words, Judicial Watch actually does the investigative work the mainstream media often refuses to do on powerful Democrats.
Peters wrote an extremely similar story in April 2018. Even the lead sounded familiar, complete with the “dark” turn. At least the paper's current coverage has dropped the scare quotes around the term “caravan”:
It was the kind of story destined to take a dark turn through the conservative news media and grab President Trump’s attention: A vast horde of migrants was making its way through Mexico toward the United States, and no one was stopping them....And as the president often does when immigration is at issue, he saw a reason for Americans to be afraid.
While talking about Peters’ April story, NewsBusters’ Randy Hall reminded readers how The Times made big news about a tiny pro-immigration march, reported by the paper on January 1, 2010, from Miami to Washington on behalf of illegal immigrants, which consisted of a grand total of four marchers, yet somehow merited a 780-word Times article. But it’s the height of hysteria for President Trump to dwell on a caravan of thousands coming toward the border?