NY Times' Peters Slams Right-Wing ‘Embellishment’ of Caravan Numbers

During the Thursday edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters hammered the way the “right-wing media” covered the caravan of illegal immigrants that earlier this week headed toward the American border.

Peters was particularly critical of how the “1,200 or so” participants quickly became "thousands” in a tweet from President Donald Trump.

This focus on the number of participants is interesting for the liberal newspaper, which once covered a “march” from Miami to Washington on behalf of illegal immigrants despite the fact that it consisted of only four people.

When introducing the segment, co-host Willie Geist stated:

{A} group of migrants through Mexico recently captured the president’s attention. The caravan, which some estimates place at up to 1,500 people, became national news after the president tweeted about it on Easter Sunday.

Many attributed that tweet to a segment on Fox & Friends that morning.

Geist then referred to a Fox News Channel chyron “Caravan of Immigrants Headed to U.S.”

“So how these events were embellished is the center of reporting by New York Times’ Jeremy Peters, who argues such exaggerations are a staple of Trump fanning the flames of misinformation,” Geist asserted.

The co-anchor then turned to the reporter and asked him to explain “what kind of story the president seizes on and how it becomes a big national, and sometimes international, story.”


Peters came out guns blazing.

“From the moment I saw the headline ‘caravan’ and the images of these people making their way through Mexico,” he stated, “I just knew it was going to be the kind of story that the right-wing media was going to latch onto.”

Coverage of the event “would quickly take a dark turn through the blogosphere and through Fox & Friends and wind up in President Trump's head,” the reporter noted.

Peters then claimed that “the images of over a thousand Central Americans making their way toward the U.S. border was almost too much for the president and his enablers in the conservative media to resist.”

“But, as is so often the case with these stories,” he added, “whether they're partially true, partially embellished or entirely made up, the facts quickly become irrelevant, and the president becomes the chief accelerant to the flame.”

Peters continued: “These people, the 1,200 or so, quickly became ‘thousands’  -- in President Trump's words, ‘thousands’ he said from the White House -- were making their way toward the border.”

He then stated:

That just was simply not true.

Because all of the reporting, even the initial report that triggered this in Buzzfeed, said that there was a good portion of these migrants who were never going to come to the U.S. They were going to stay in Mexico and resettle there.

“Furthermore,” Peters continued, “they weren't going to illegally enter the country; at least, many of them were not going to. They were going to go through the legal process of declaring themselves at a border check point.”

“Well, no miles of fencing or battalions of border patrol agents could have prevented that,” he stated. “They were doing something that was entirely lawful.”

“So what you see here is an embellishment and, really, a villainization of immigrants that is in keeping with President Trump stoking the grievances and fears that people in this country have about new entrants,” Peters concluded.

However, as reported on January 1, 2010: “A ‘march’ from Miami to Washington on behalf of illegal immigrants consisting of a grand total of four marchers somehow merited a 780-word Times article by reliably pro-amnesty reporter Julia Preston.”

“The text box to Preston's story on Saturday read: ‘Hoping that a four-person walk will resonate in a way mass marches did not.’ That lack of resonance was not through any fault of Times reporters like Preston, who mainstreamed the marches and portrayed them in a positive light.”

As NewsBusters reported on Monday, Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski also blasted Trump’s tweets: “It’s amazing. He sees ‘Caravan of Immigrants Headed to the U.S.,’ which is an absolutely preposterous story, and ... repeats it verbatim, has all the facts wrong.”

Scarborough also criticized Trump by noting: “Here you have the president going out -- again, because he saw a Fox News segment -- going out and talking about, quote, ‘caravans of people coming to the United States.’ He emphasized ‘caravans,’ spitting out the word with disgust.”

Of course, many news outlets reporting on the situation have used the term “caravan,” which was in the title of the original BuzzFeed article. Still, that wouldn’t stop the liberal folks at Morning Joe from taking yet another potshot at President Trump.

Immigration Fox News Channel Fox & Friends MSNBC Morning Joe Willie Geist Joe Scarborough Mika Brzezinski Donald Trump

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