Things That Matter

Fox News Reported On CBP Using Tear Gas On “Combative” Migrants This Weekend But Officials Had No Information On This Incident

A Fox News headline published on Saturday, July 20th, read “Border agents use tear gas to stop nearly 50 undocumented migrants who stormed Rio Grande bridge.” But the last time a report was published about tear gas used on migrants at the border was January 3, 2019, and it made international news. Here’s Fox’s story:

According to Fox, 47 migrants “rushed” the Pharr International Bridge, and assaulted officers.

Fox and Friends

“A CBP official told Fox News the group attempted to rush across the bridge in three waves,” the article states. FOX quotes the alleged CBP official, “Ignoring commands to stop, the group suddenly rushed the temporary barricades, bent metal poles and disabled the concertina wire affixed to the barrier.”

Fox reports the group strategically rushed the bridge in three waves around 4 a.m. Allegedly, the bridge’s reopening, typically at 6 a.m., was delayed by two hours because CBP had to construct temporary barriers in the middle of the night.

Fox says the violence and destruction were so bad, Pharr Police were called to the scene.

@PharrTx / Twitter

This “official” tells Fox that “CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, Pharr police and members of the Texas Department of Public Safety were called upon to prevent the group’s entry.”

CBP and Pharr police have not mentioned this at all, though, by the time the bridge reopened, the Twitter account linked to Pharr PD’s website shared about their morning golf course clean up.

Fox links alleged migrants to the drug cartel.

Fox and Friends

In a Fox and Friends news clip, the hosts attempt to draw a connection between the migrants and the drug cartel, saying, “The cartel controls that area, so if those people are trying to [cross there], they’re not doing it without at least the knowledge of the cartel which means that something is going on.”

They also want to make the point that it’s incidents like these that Democrats use to “vilify” Border Patrol but what else were they supposed to do?

We called Pharr International Bridge’s offices and they were “not aware” of use of force or of the bridge’s closing.

Fox and Friends

The person who answered said that we should call back tomorrow to speak with his manager for an official statement. We asked if he was aware of Border Patrol using tear gas on migrants, resulting in the bridge temporarily closing, and he said, “I’m not aware of anything like that.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection had no published statement regarding use of force by its agents by the time of this publication.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Typically, there would at least be traffic reports of the bridge closure, as it would affect an innumerable amount of businesses who rely on the bridge for commerce. At least one outlet, CBS Valley Central references “a [media] release from Customs and Border Protection” that seemingly does not exist.

The single image used by Fox was published days earlier by other outlets.

@frank69oo7 / Twitter

There was no footage of the alleged July 20th incident and a reverse image search found that the single image used by Fox was published on other outlets beginning as early as July 17, 2019.

The “official” specifically told Fox that the alleged victims of tear gas were “several males in the group [who] disregarded commands to stop and physically pushed through the barriers.” Sixteen individuals were either federally charged or pending charges for “interference.”

The misinformation has since spread to the likes of New York Post, The Blaze, and more, all referencing Fox News.

Fox News / New York Post

Biz Pac Review even used this headline, “Horde of violent migrants storm Texas bridge punching, kicking and rushing border patrol officers.” More and more alt-right outlets are picking up the piece as it’s gone viral for the conservative online community.

Fox’s article has inspired calls for more violence against migrants.

@frank69oo7 / Twitter

It’s nearly impossible to find a public comment on Fox News’ initial reporting of the tear gas attack without finding threats of more violence. This user enthusiastically, in all caps, says, “GOOD, STOP THEM. MAY HAVE TO USE BASE BALL BATS, BUT STOP THEM.”

Tear gas is so abrasive that, in 1993, the U.S. outlawed the use of tear gas in war.

@RetiredNYCPD / Twitter

It’s something that nations across the world have definitely outlawed as a weapon they wouldn’t inflict on their own worst enemies. The inhalation of tear gas causes victims’ eyes to swell, throats to tighten, uncontrollable gagging and often vomiting for a full hour before the agent leaves the system.

Tear gas is legal for U.S. federal and local law enforcement to use as a method of riot control.

Still, some think tear gas isn’t enough.

@onurb1952 / Twitter

Twitter user @RogerMcEntyre shared Fox’s news report with the caption, “Finally! Machine guns with rubber bullets work too.”

Extreme right conservatives are using the gap in reporting from credible outlets as fuel for the fire.

@AndrewPollackFL / Twitter

Andrew Pollack’s tweet has been liked and retweeted over 11,000 times in less than 24 hours.

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Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into Disinformation Campaign Aimed At Florida’s Latino Voters

Things That Matter

Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into Disinformation Campaign Aimed At Florida’s Latino Voters

H2Woah! / Flickr

A disturbing disinformation campaign is taking place in Florida and it is targeting the Cuban-American community. The racist insert in The Miami Herald recently brought a spotlight to the wide reaching disinformation campaign made to convince Cuban-Americans to stay loyal to the Republican Party.

Politicians are growing concerned about the increasingly aggressive disinformation campaign in southern Florida.

From Whatsapp clips to Facebook groups, there has been an aggressive and seemingly success disinformation campaign aimed at Cuban and Cuban-Americans in southern Florida. QAnon and conspiracies are mainstays in Spanish-language YouTube channels and other social media sites. The ads claim things as extreme as President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were secretly selling uranium to Russia.

The campaign to mislead Latino voters in one of the larget swing states is causing alarm.

“People see the videos and the disinformation so many times that it gets to them. They feel they can’t trust the media, and that’s the most worrisome part,” Democratic strategist Evelyn Pérez-Vedía told NBC News. “Now they call Spanish-language media fake news.”

Politicians are calling for an investigation into the disinformation campaign to end it.

Representatives Joaquin Castro and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell are calling on the FBI to launch a formal investigation. The disinformation is aiming to move Latino voters to President Trump. A recent influx of Puerto Ricans who fled natural disasters has put the Republican hold on the Florida Latino vote in jeopardy.

Rep. Murcasel-Powell is sounding the alarm that the disinformation situation in Florida is akin to the Russian influence of the past.

“As we rapidly approach election day, Latino circles in South Florida have witnessed a surge in posts containing false or misleading information on social media…While disinformation on social media is, itself, problematic, even more concerning is the fact that disinformation originating on social media is now shaping and pervading more traditional media outlets in South Florida,” reads a letter from Reps. Castro and Mucarsel-Powell “As the FBI works to secure our elections, we urge you to keep the Latino community in mind and consider efforts of foreign actors to spread disinformation and sow doubt in our election systems among Latinos, especially in South Florida.”

It’s a reminder that it is important to be critical of what you see in social media.

It is always very important to double check your sources and do your research. Don’t just believe everything you see on social media, even if it is something that your friends and family are sharing and talking about. It is also important to keep those you love accountable and let them know when they are sharing things that just aren’t true.

READ: Florida Republican Representative Shows Off Cuban Man He Claims Is His Stepson

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Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

Entertainment

Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

The media advocacy group Define American recently released a study that focused on the way immigrant characters are depicted on television. The second-annual study is entitled “Change the Narrative, Change the World”.

Although the study reports progress in some areas of onscreen representation, there is still a long way to go.

For example, the study reported that half of the immigrant characters depicted on television are Latino, which is consistent with reality. What is not consistent with reality, however, is how crime-related storylines are still an overrepresented theme in these storylines.

The study shows that on television 22% of immigrant characters have crime storylines show up as part of their narratives. These types of storylines further pedal the false narrative that immigrants are criminals, when in reality, they’re just everyday people who are trying to lives their best lives. Ironically, this statistic is an improvement on the previous year’s statistics in which crime themes made up 34% of immigrants’ stories on TV.

These numbers are further proof that the media feels stories of Latino immigration have to be about sadness and hardship in order to be worth watching.

According to Define American’s website, their organization believes that “powerful storytelling is the catalyst that can reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.”

They believe that changing the narratives depicted in entertainment media can “reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.” 

“We wanted to determine if seeing the specific immigration storylines influenced [viewers’] attitudes, behavior, or knowledge in the real world,” said Sarah Lowe, the associate director of research and impact at Define American to Variety. “And we were reassured and inspired to see the impact it had.” 

Define American’s founder, Jose Antonio Vargas, is relatively optimistic about the study’s outcomes, saying that the report has “some promising findings” and the numbers “provide [him] with hope”. He added that there are still “many areas in which immigrant representation can improve”.

via Getty Images

Namely, Vargas was disappointed in television’s failure to take an intersectional approach to immigration in regards to undocumented Black immigrants. 

“Black undocumented immigrants are detained and deported at higher rates than other ethnic groups,” Vargas told Variety. “But their stories are largely left off-screen and left out of the larger narrative around immigration.” 

“Change the Narrative, Change the World” also showed that Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants are also under-represented on television compared with reality. Also worth noting, male immigrants were over-represented on television compared to reality, while immigrants with disabilities were also under-represented.

The study also showed that when viewers are exposed to TV storylines that humanize immigrants, they’re more likely to take action on immigration issues themselves. 

The effect that fictional entertainment narratives have on viewers further proves that representation does, indeed, matter. What we watch as entertainment changes the way we think about other people’s lived experiences. And that, in turn, can change the world.

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