On Wednesday's New Day show, CNN analyst John Avlon delivered a misleading "Reality Check" that promised to explain "what is really going on" at the border with Mexico, suggesting that "right-wing media" like Fox News are spreading misinformation.
In actual "reality," regular Fox News viewers would be better informed about why the large number of illegal border crossings is happening than those of CNN. In fact, just recently, Fox News ran a report informing viewers that the overwhelming majority of asylum requests by illegal immigrants are frivolous and are rejected -- the kind of critical information you'd never hear on CNN or other liberal media outlets.
Fill-in co-host Erica Hill suggested that "right-wing media" need to be corrected as she set up the segment: "Right now, there's a lot in right-wing media about Joe Biden's border crisis. So when did it start? And what is really going on at the Southern border? Here's John Avlon with a 'Reality Check.'"
Avlon immediately portrayed opponents of illegal immigration as "anti-immigrant" as he began invoking the Know Nothing movement of the 19th century:
This St. Patrick's Day, it's worth recalling one of the first anti-immigrant movements in American politics, the so-called "Know Nothing party," channeled its anger at Irish and Catholic immigration. Now, we have an Irish Catholic President. But the politics of immigration panic are still very much with us.
He then showed on screen an image of a Chicago Tribune article from November 16, 2018 alleging that Fox News Channel had not covered the illegal immigrant caravan since the November 6 election as the CNN analyst continued his analysis:
Remember the migrant caravan that dominated coverage before the 2018 midterms and then largely disappeared from the airwaves after Election Day? Well, Republicans are beating the border crisis drum again halfway through Joe Biden's first 100 days. But how much is fact and how much is partisan fiction?
But, in fact, as CNN media analyst Brian Stelter has previously admitted, after a temporary lull in caravan coverage that coincided with the coverage of the election results, Fox News then picked up coverage of the caravan, and, by November 13, it was back at the level of where it was right before the election.
He then made a point of declaring that the border is not technically "open" without clarifying that Central Americans who bring children with them, cross the border illegally, and claim asylum, are able to exploit the system to gain immediate entry into the country indefinitely, thus making the border effectively open for them.
After conceding that ending the Trump administration's "stay in Mexico policy" had made illegal border crossings worse, he then returned to portraying right-wing media has misleading viewers as he argued that President Joe Biden's treatment of immigrant children is not as bad because he is not separating all parents and children as the Trump administration did for a while.
He didn't mention that it was the Obama administration that first used cage-like facilities to house both children and adults, or that the left freaked out over all cases of children being kept in cages -- not just those separated from their parents.
Avlon ended up questionably claiming that cooperating with Democrats on "comprehensive immigration reform" would result in many of the problems being solved.
By contrast, a couple of weeks ago, Fox News Channel ran an eye-opening report by correspondent Williams La Jeunesse which informed viewers that, according to a United Nation's survey, the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants who would apply for asylum were not actually fleeing political persecution, therefore making them ineligible for asylum even though they will be allowed to enter the country to pursue asylum anyway.
This lame CNN "Reality Check" was sponsored in part by Salonpas. Their contact information is linked.
Transcript follows. Click "expand" to read more.
March 17, 2021
8:41 a.m. Eastern
ERICA HILL, FILL-IN CO-HOST: Right now, there's a lot in right-wing media about Joe Biden's border crisis. So when did it start? And what is really going on at the Southern border? Here's John Avlon with a "Reality Check."
JOHN AVLON: That's right. This St. Patrick's Day, it's worth recalling one of the first anti-immigrant movements in American politics, the so-called "Know Nothing party," channeled its anger at Irish and Catholic immigration. Now, we have an Irish Catholic President. But the politics of immigration panic are still very much with us.
Remember the migrant caravan that dominated coverage before the 2018 midterms and then largely disappeared from the airwaves after Election Day? Well, Republicans are beating the border crisis drum again halfway through Joe Biden's first 100 days. But how much is fact and how much is partisan fiction? Let's dig into the data.
First, there is a spike of apprehensions on the Southern border -- over 100,000 in February alone. And that includes nearly 9,600 kids, many unaccompanied adults. Now, the recent rise began in the final months of Trump's term, but it's escalated since Biden took office. Now, the border is not open -- that's false. But it is fair to say that Biden's retraction of a Trump policy which made people seeking asylum sit on the Mexican side of the border has contributed to the rise.
Now, you may have heard accusations of hypocrisy in the detention of underage migrants. So is this just a redux of the "kids in cages" policy of the Trump years? No. And there's an important reason why. The Trump administration intentionally pursued a policy of separating children from their parents when they crossed the border. As then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, "We need to take away children." The cruelty was the point. The kids now held in detention came across the border without their parents, so this is not a child separation policy.
Now, if Republicans want to help solve this problem -- a big "if" -- they could try to work with the Biden administration to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. This would need more enforcement than progressives would be happy with, and a pathway to citizenship that many conservatives would balk at. But here's the bottom line: Whether or not they want to call this a "crisis," Biden has a practical problem moving it forward that he can't afford to ignore. And that's your "Reality Check."