With the National Guard on its way to the U.S.-Mexico border to aid Border Patrol, CNN’s Brian Stelter kicked off Reliable Sources on Sunday by suggesting that Fox News had a hand in their deployment. According to him, Fox and Friends fed President Trump a steady diet of misleading reports that got him to send in the troops. Yet, Stelter and his panel never explained what was wrong with the reports and they even noted other outlets reported the same thing.
Stelter began the show by lambasting the recent immigration story because it supposedly “symbolizes everything that's wrong with the Trump era. President Trump receives faulty information, then he makes impulsive decisions, and his staff has to scramble.” And he lamented “the line where Fox News ends and where Trump begins is getting blurrier by the day,” despite the fact President Obama would dine with MSNBC and other friendly media hosts as well.
He complained that once “someone” over at Fox and Friends learned about the caravan of Central American migrants heading towards the border, they “ran with it and ran with it big time.” Yet, he admitted that the article F&F hosts read from “originally appeared in BuzzFeed” and noted, “now lots of news outlets are covering this caravan.” So, what’s the problem? According to Stelter, it’s that Trump learned about it through Fox News and a so-called “feedback loop.”
“This feedback loop continued for days. It ping-ponged back to Fox. Fox went full steam ahead with border coverage in prime time on Monday,” Stelter bemoaned. “Military, military. I wonder where the President got that idea.”
Stelter reiterated that the story was a “symbol of everything that's wrong with the Trump- era” and he blamed Trump’s “addiction to Fox and other pro-Trump commentators” for “a lack of quality information, first of all, reaching the president.”
“That is how we end up with the National Guard deployed to the border in what I would argue is a PR stunt,” Stelter declared. “Trump wants a PR victory. He wants to give his Fox friends something to celebrate. And as a result, we’re all talking about the border. A manufactured crisis.”
But was it really a “manufactured crisis?” Not according to the numbers. As White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert explained to ABC’s Martha Raddatz earlier that morning:
[What DHS] briefed the President on was the trends that we're seeing and what we're seeing is a 200 percent increase this month, March, this past month in apprehensions. It's alarming. Over 200 percent increase and we’re talking about apprehending over 50,000 people attempting to cross our border in one month.
And that point was reported on NBC Nightly News last Thursday by reporter Gabe Gutierrez. “The Department of Homeland Security says there's been more than a 200 percent spike in illegal border crossings over the past year and a 37 percent jump from last month to this month,” he noted.
So what does Stelter mean when he says Trump was receiving “faulty information” from Fox News? New York mag reporter Olivia Nuzzi suggested the problem was that Fox News didn’t report why the caravan was fleeing Central America and claimed they misrepresented it. But since the information was widely reported, even in DHS briefs, one could figure the only problem was that the information was coming from Fox News.
It’s interesting that the liberal media have an issue with this president watching Fox when the last one was learning about the actions of his administration via the news.
The relevant portions of the transcript are below, click "expand" to read:
April 8, 2018
11:00:47 PM Eastern
BRIAN STELTER: But first a story that symbolizes everything that's wrong with the Trump era. President Trump receives faulty information, then he makes impulsive decisions, and his staff has to scramble. Ask yourself, why is there so much talk about the U.S.-Mexico border all of a sudden? Why are National Guard troops suddenly being deployed? Well, the answer involves President Trump's favorite channel.
Let's try to slow down time for a minute. Let's look at the timeline from the past week to really understand what happened here. Because the line where Fox News ends and where Trump begins is getting blurrier by the day. You have to see this timeline to believe it. I think it starts right here. About a week ago the President dining with Sean Hannity last week in Mar-a-Lago. The entire week talk about immigration including action on the border seemed to be a result of the dinner he had at Mar-a-Lago and all the other conversations the President is having with right wing media voices that are disappointed in him, disappointed in the omnibus spending bill, disappointed in the lack of border wall construction. We’ve heard Ann Coulter and other talking about this.
But then there was this article that originally appeared in BuzzFeed. An article that created the propulsion for a story about caravan. This is the caravan we’ve seen, now lots of news outlets are covering this caravan of Central Americans, some of whom are trying to head to the United States. Someone took this buzz story and ran with it. Last Sunday, someone over at Fox and Friends spotted the BuzzFeed story and ran with it and ran with it big time. Watch.
STELTER: This is the kicker here. Did you see the time on screen? Let’s zoom in on the time. We’ve highlighted it here. This was around 6:30 in the morning eastern time. Just 20 minutes later, the President tweeted, the border is getting more dangerous and the caravans, plural, are heading to the U.S. This feedback loop continued for days. It ping-ponged back to Fox. Fox went full steam ahead with border coverage in prime time on Monday.
TUCKER CARLSON: Would it be possible to send the military to our border? Honestly, why isn't this a hostile act against our country?
STELTER: Military, military. I wonder where the President got that idea. The next day this is what he said.
DONALD TRUMP: Until we can have a wall and proper security, we'll be guarding our wall for the military.
STELTER: I say this is a symbol of everything that's wrong with the Trump- era. A lack of quality information, first of all, reaching the president. He's relied, instead, on his Fox friends, sometimes via TV, sometimes on the phone, sometimes in person. Now his addiction to Fox and other pro-Trump commentators leads to impulsive actions. In this case he’s definitely playing to his base, stoking anti-immigrant fears, and even catching his staff off-guard, then they have to scramble to make it look like he knows what he’s doing. That is how we end up with the National Guard deployed to the border in what I would argue is a PR stunt. Trump wants a PR victory. He wants to give his Fox friends something to celebrate. And as a result, we’re all talking about the border. A manufactured crisis.
STELTER: Jeff, am I wrong about this being what's so wrong about the Trump-era?
JEFF GREENFIELD: I think I would add maybe a layer of complexity. Remember that Trump's belief about immigration, Trump's belief about foreigners taking advantage of us and ripping us off and killing our buffalo, or whatever he's into. That is at the core of Trump's world set of beliefs. He has believed this for 30 years. So it's not just that Fox & Friends are sending out false information about anything in particular, they're hitting the note that most is likely to get Trump riled up.
GREENFIELD: Look, if you’re at a Led Zeppelin reunion, you’re going to want to hear Stairway to Heaven that’s it. And if you’re a Trump supporter, you want to hear him bash immigrants. I mean, that’s just part of the drill.