Critic: Media Take Trump Too Seriously on Immigration

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Recalling election night 2016’s “epic fail” by the news media, Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan complains that too many journalists “allow Trump to lead them around by the nose, which is why you’ve heard so very much about that migrant caravan in recent weeks.” Sullivan says that, “Wide-eyed coverage of [Trump’s] politically driven pet issues — primarily the supposed horrors of immigration — has dominated the past few weeks of news, with a fixation on the refugees coming north through Mexico.”

When Trump sat down with reporter Jonathan Swan of the digital news site Axios last week, he cannily floated the idea of eliminating birthright citizenship by executive order — knowing it would make big news. Swan was “excited to share” his scoop, he tweeted, and news organizations from the Associated Press to Bloomberg News went along for the the false impression that this was something that could quite easily come to pass. In fact, it might require a constitutional amendment. Sullivan also cites a headline, “Trump: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised’ if Soros were paying for migrant caravan.” There was no evidence for the statement. The reality-based world went into a tizzy of appreciation when Fox News anchor Shep Smith took some on-air time to voice the obvious about the migrant caravan: “There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you.” Sullivan praises BuzzFeed News for the headline, “Now Trump Is Saying He’ll Stop Babies Born In The US From Becoming Citizens, Though He Probably Can’t.”

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