Well the Huffington Post at least has recognized the Media for what it has been doing...
Running with questionable sources - adding personal opinions and content to sensationalize
AP’s story hit Twitter like a neutron bomb. It’s easy to see why — the AP’s tweet read: “BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.” Madness, right? Time to gravely intone, “And so it begins,” for the 900th time!
Pause a minute. Right now, the media is probably more primed for a freak-out
than we’d care to admit. And that’s led to mistakes
. Here are some stories you might recall over the past few weeks: The Treasury Department is going to ease sanctions that allow companies to pursue transactions with the Russian security service! LGBTQ issues pages have suddenly vanished from the White House website! Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was in a “Fascism Forever” club!
These are just a few stories, off the top of my head, that ended up getting “Donald Trump is breaking democratic norms and we’re heading for all sorts of crises” treatment that actually had completely different explanations or were merely quotidian events that could have safely escaped mention. That Treasury decision? It was an adjustment that was initiated before Trump took office. Those White House webpages? Part of a standard, administrative changeover. Neil Gorsuch’s club? It wasn’t a real club — just a lighthearted joke made up for high school yearbook laughs.
You can see some of this when you start to examine the fundamentals of The Associated Press story on this draft memo. The AP reports:
(memo pic here)
The AP goes on to report that the memo was “written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly” and that while “National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.”
So, here is what appears to be the draft memo. (I say “appears to be” because I have no way of knowing whether this is precisely what the AP received, or if the memo has been revised since the AP obtained it.) Nowhere within will you find anything about 100,000 National Guard troops being mobilized to round people up.
As near as I can tell, that figure seems to have been derived by totting up the number of available National Guard troops in the states affected by this draft memo. That may be close to the number of National Guard troops available — certainly the AP hedges by saying “as many as 100,000” troops might be potentially involved.
I might have refrained from offering this estimate, however, for two reasons. First, it would be up to the discretion of the governors in these states to deploy their National Guard troops. It’s not clear whether they would choose to do so. Second, it would seem rather sensible to imagine that if the governors affected by this memo did choose to deploy National Guard troops to pursue this mission, they would likely not assign the entirety of their states’ contingents to this task. So, in theory, sure, “as many as 100,000.” In practice, no.
Knowing this, it won’t just be White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s stringent denials that will make the AP story look oversold. The AP has opened itself to criticism from the White House, and may have spread unnecessary fear among immigrant communities and their advocates. Like some of the previous stories I’ve cited, AP is a bit out over its skis on this — unnecessarily so — and leaves itself exposed to a credibility hit.
This “primed for freakout” condition is common in the Trump-era press. And before you accuse me of being up on a high horse about this, let me confess that I’ve had to confront this tendency in myself as well, and I am, at this moment, always on the verge of lapsing. What happened today fits a pattern. We’ve seen this whole “draft order of dubious origin gets leaked and denied” game on two previous occasions. On Jan. 25, The New York Times obtained a draft of an executive order that would revive CIA “black sites.”
It was reported that Trump was “poised to lift the ban” on these practices. But the White House very quickly countered that the draft order was “not a White House document,” and for a while, no one was sure from whence it had originated. Eventually, the Times got the origin story sourced to the White House, which had “circulated the draft order among national security staff members.”
Ultimately, however, no executive order on black sites was signed
. Similarly, a draft executive order curtailing the rights of the LGBTQ community ended up being reported in February. According to accounts, this draft was “circulating in the Trump administration,” and when news of this broke, it touched off another round of jump-scares about the White House adopting and enshrining discriminatory policies. Again, no executive order ended up getting signed,
and like the black sites memo, this policy prescription ended up vanishing in the ether of the news cycle.
The AP’s National Guard story is shaping up to be the third such example, officially making this “trend piece-eligible” at the very least.
entire story at:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ap-national-guard-trump-media_us_58a76c45e4b045cd34c1970c