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Media midterm games at border

If you’re trying to understand why Democrats are making a comeback in polls despite President Biden’s many failures, look no further than the political firestorm over the crisis at the southern border. 

The battle offers a case study of how the media shapes public opinion by magnifying left-wing talking points, ignoring key facts and distorting conservative criticism. 

More than 4 million people have entered the United States from Mexico under Biden, a record influx that is larger than the population of every American city except New York. 

Nearly a million of those crossers evaded detection, while most others were briefly detained but turned loose because they claimed asylum. 

After border agents free them, usually with a court date years into the future, the government provides no services. The migrants are on their own, with no right to work, making them dependent on charities and their new neighbors in Texas, Arizona and elsewhere. 

It’s an unbearable weight for border states, with some towns seeing their population grow by hundreds of people every day. El Paso, Texas, says it gets about 1,400 newcomers each week. 

Governors, mayors and residents in those states are beyond frustrated at Washington for causing the problem, then sticking them with the burden and the bills. 

Venezuelan migrants stand outside St. Andrew's Church in Edgartown, Massachusetts on September 14.
Venezuelan migrants stand outside St. Andrew’s Church in Edgartown, Massachusetts on Sept. 14.
Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette/Handout via REUTERS

Aiming to convince northern Dems to complain to the White House about the crisis, three GOP governors decided to send some of the millions of unvetted immigrants to blue cities and states. 

It was, on paper, an ingenious plan that got wide attention and succeeded in exposing the northern Dems’ hypocrisy. Most famously, the 50 or so migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis caused consternation in the lefty stronghold before the migrants were rounded up and bused (above) to a military base on the mainland. 

Chicago wanted nothing to do with its migrant gift and sent a busload to a suburban town with a Republican mayor. The mayor of Washington, DC, called in the National Guard for help, arguing the nation’s capital is “not a border town” and can’t handle thousands of migrants. 

Hypocrisy at home 

Mayor Adams in New York bitterly criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for sending busloads to Gotham, but not fellow Dem Biden, who sent them by plane for months. Adams decided to set up tent compounds for the 15,000 migrants here, which is in addition to the 58,000 homeless people living in shelters, and is asking the White House for $500 million. 

In short, Biden’s border policies have created an enormous problem around the nation that is still growing, with no end in sight. 

Migrants arrive at Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan on September 23.
Migrants arrive at Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan on September 23.
Robert Miller

At first, the White House had no answer for the GOP shipments. Eventually, the president’s political team found something to say. 

Biden declared himself furious — at the GOP governors. Having accepted for nearly two years the power of drug cartels and traffickers over the desperate caravans, he suddenly was concerned with the migrants’ safety during their bus rides and flights north. 

The Republican governors, Biden claimed, are “playing politics with human beings, using them as props. What they’re doing is simply wrong, it’s un-American, it’s reckless.” 

The irony was thick enough to cut with a knife. Biden said next to nothing about the estimated 1,200 migrants who died at or near the border during his tenure, including the 53 who suffocated in a tractor-trailer in Texas. But now he was outraged over the 50 sent to the Vineyard on a chartered jet. 

Moreover, the feds still haven’t explained their shipping of migrants around the nation, often in the dead of night and usually without any notice to local officials. 

Given the scope of the disaster his policies created, trying to make the GOP governors the villains of the piece seemed like a fantasy. But then the media came to the president’s rescue. 

Echoing the Dems’ criticism, the usual suspects piled outrage and scorn on the GOP governors. 

“The ugly historical roots of the GOP’s sadistic migrant transports,” read the headline on a column in the Los Angeles Times. NPR found a lawyer who accused DeSantis of “human trafficking” for the Vineyard flight. 

CNN saw the start of something nefarious, alleging the transports marked an “escalation of the red state drive to seize control of national policy from below.” 

Not to be outdone, The New York Times engaged in mind reading and found unsavory motives. “DeSantis’s Migrant Flights Aim to Jolt Midterms, and Lay Groundwork for 2024,” the Gray Lady declared. 

Notably, there was little attempt to explain Biden’s policies or defend them. The coverage focused on attacking the GOP response, as if everything was fine before then. 

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Weeks of saturation coverage in that vein brought a predictable reaction. Reuters, which describes Biden’s border policies as “more welcoming,” released a poll Friday with the headline that claimed: “Just 1/3 of Americans back Republican migrant flights.” 

Spinning the data 

The online-only poll got wide pickup, but a closer reading undercuts the findings. “Overall, 29% of Americans supported the practice and 40% opposed,” Reuters says, without mentioning the remaining 31 percent. That’s an awfully large segment of the sample to ignore. 

Also, Reuters says of the 1,005 respondents, 449 were Democrats and 361 Republicans, a gap favoring Dems by 9 percentage points, which is far wider than actual national preference. Gallup reports that when independents who lean to one party or another are counted, Dems held an average advantage of just 3 points last year. 

In fact, it said in the fourth quarter of 2021, GOP affiliation stood at 47% against just 42% for Dems. 

From tilted coverage to a tilted poll, the entire episode captures why it is almost impossible for Republicans to get a fair public hearing, even when the basic facts are on their side. 

As the week ended, the left’s inclination to weaponize law enforcement for partisan purposes surfaced with growing calls for prosecution of Republicans. With Abbott and DeSantis both running for re-election, 44 House Dems signed a letter to the Department of Justice demanding a federal probe of them. 

So far, Attorney General Merrick Garland has been silent. But if Biden says go, Garland will obey and we could see another round of FBI raids on Republicans just in time for the election. 

It’s un-Tlaib-able!

The chutzpah award of the week goes to CAIR, the radical Muslim group. 

After Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s latest smear on Israel as an apartheid state brought criticism from fellow Dems, CAIR rushed to her defense. Her remarks were just “common sense,” the group insisted, while her critics are guilty of “dishonest, Islamophobic attacks.”

Tish’s bias from the beginning 

Reader Robert Pilgrim sees foul play in the state attorney general’s lawsuit against Donald Trump, his family and business. He writes: “The moment Letitia James campaigned with promises to harass Trump, she disqualified herself from taking such actions because it appears targeted and biased. 

“This is despicable behavior for an AG, and looks like harassment.”

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