FROM THE BORDER: Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Continues to Track Down Immigrants

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The cat-and-mouse game between border patrol authorities and human smugglers is a daily reality in Texas.

Border patrol agents use advanced technology and their knowledge of the areas that groups of undocumented immigrants are directed to use by smugglers to cross into the U.S.

Smugglers keep watch from Mexico soil; their goal is for illegal immigrants to put their feet on U.S. land before they can be turned around by agents. Once immigrants are on U.S. soil, they can claim asylum and begin the formal process.

“A wall would have slowed them down considerably,” according to Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz.

Ortiz estimates there are 850 arrests in the Rio Grande Valley area, making it one of the busiest and congested areas to entry. Ortiz also said that approximately 100 immigrants cross into the U.S. without being detected. 

Ortiz and his team have apprehensions every day across the Rio Grande Valley. The immigrants are coming from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador according to data from Homeland Security and border patrol.

Last year, Congress approved $600 million for 33 miles of new border wall for Rio Grande Valley. The bipartisan legislation includes concrete walls and steel posts.

Designs of the border barrier (which were released last September), depicts concrete walls will be used for 25 miles and have a massive height of the already-existing flood levee located in Hidalgo County, and neighbors the Rio Grande.

Directly on top of the concrete walls will be “18-foot steel posts with a 150-foot enforcement zone in front.”

Since October, border patrol officials said more than 100,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended attempting to enter into the U.S. since the beginning of October.

CBP also stated they are on track to apprehend 240,000 immigrants this fiscal year.

Marissa Martinez is a political contributor for Accuracy in Media. She is the former political director to Massachusetts Governor’s re-election campaign, alumna of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and political consultant to national PACs. Follow her AIM border stories, @MarissaAlisa.


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Author: Marissa Martinez

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Maduro Struggles to Maintain Power in Venezuela

CARACAS – Even after a weeklong power outrage that loomed across the country, President Nicolas Maduro continues to have support in some parts of the country thanks to his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. In many parts of Venezuela, citizens rely heavily on government benefits and food for basic needs. Maduro solidifies his authority by having parts of the country need these benefits for survival while discouraging dissent.

Maduro has sent a message to the U.S., opposition leaders, and citizens: He’s not backing down without a fight. On Thursday, Venezuela’s intelligence forces detained opposition leader Juan Guaido’s chief of staff, Roberto Marrero.

Venezuela’s intelligence agents also apprehended dozens of journalists who have been reporting on the crisis and two state utility workers.

Marrero’s arrested was a part of an operation against a “terrorist” cell, according to Interior Minister Nestor Luis Reverol. In an article published by Time, Reverol said weapons were confiscated and a bodyguard was arrested.

The U.S. continues to hold strong against Maduro’s regime, and voice its support for Guaido.

Trump administration officials Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Secretary Mike Pompeo have all warned against any effort to arrest Guaido – however, Maduro is flexing his muscle over the country by nabbing his number two.

Vice President Mike Pence has been a committed vocal force against Maduro. The Miami Herald published an opinion piece from Pence that called for the release of Marrero from his undisclosed location. The U.S. and 50 other countries continue to call for Maduro to step down. Until he does so, sanctions and international pressure will continue.

Marissa Martinez is a political contributor for Accuracy in Media. She is the former political director to Massachusetts Governor’s re-election campaign, alumna of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and political consultant to national PACs. Follow her AIM border stories, @MarissaAlisa.

Photo by Cancillería Ecuador

 


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Author: Marissa Martinez

Media Called Out for Bias Favoring Ocasio-Cortez

David Marcus, the Federalist’s New York correspondent, pointed out the media bias in favor of liberal freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wants to punish Asian-American students for being academically successful.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that “68% of all NYC public school students are Black or Latino. To only have 7 Black students accepted into Stuyvesant (a *public* high school) tells us that this is a system failure. Education inequity is a major factor in the racial wealth gap.”

Marcus points out the liberal media bias against New York City’s meritocratic system.

“Her math is correct, but what she fails to mention is that while Asian students make up only 15 percent of all students in New York, they are a whopping 74 percent of students at Stuyvesant, the school she references,” Marcus wrote.

“She claims this is inequity and represents a racial wealth gap. But exactly what systems does she believe that New York City has in place that can explain the extraordinary achievements of Asian students? Are Asians getting better schools? More resources? In what way are Asians the beneficiaries of a racial wealth gap? Don’t expect answers any time soon. This is a question Democrats and their allies in the news media have no answer for, and can barely even bring themselves to mention. The pebble in their shoe is that despite obvious racism that exists and has always existed towards Asian Americans, they succeed anyway, by almost every metric.”

Photo by nrkbeta


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Author: Carrie Sheffield

Vox Ignores Key Factors in Reporting on Campus Free Speech

Vox’s coverage of President Donald Trump’s executive order on campus free speech ignores key factors affecting the free exchange of ideas on campus.

By ignoring the overwhelmingly liberal proportion of professors and administrators on campus relative to conservatives, Vox provides readers with a misleading understanding of America’s colleges and universities today.

Vox writer Zach Beauchamp claims that “there is no campus free speech crisis.

“Certainly, campuses are not perfect havens of free speech — it really is true that conservatives are underrepresented in campus political discussions — but a few problems do not warrant a major panic. Most of the conversation about campus censorship and free speech violations stemmed from a handful of high-profile incidents, inflated by right-wing campus watchdogs and breathless media coverage about the kids these days, in a country with thousands of college campuses and millions of college students …Certainly there are instances of political censorship on campuses. But the evidence that they are a major problem, one requiring presidential-level attention, is quite thin.”

Beauchamp cherry picks statistics about the variable of whether speakers are disinvited from campus and professors fired for “politically controversial speech,” yet he ignores data from sources like Cass Sunstein in Bloomberg who reports about “Mitchell Langbert, an associate professor of business at Brooklyn College, published a study of the political affiliations of faculty members at 51 of the 66 liberal-arts colleges ranked highest by U.S. News in 2017. The findings are eye-popping (even if they do not come as a great surprise to many people in academia).”

As a graduate of Harvard University, I personally experienced administrators and professors being inhospitable to conservative ideas and historical figures, creating an uncomfortable learning environment that I was hesitant to address because my grades and enrollment were at stake. Beauchamp’s article explores none of these types of experiences in his analysis. He does not include voices from the growing Heterodox Academy, a consortium of academics who have identified this imbalance and its effects, including that “many fear losing the esteem of, or being ostracized by, one’s peers for saying the “wrong” thing (a risk which is more pronounced in highly-homogenous environments). Even in the absence of formal sanctions, social and professional isolation can make academic life extremely difficult and unpleasant — and many reasonably prefer to self-censor rather than risk it. This is a significant concern among students, faculty, and administrators.”


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Author: Carrie Sheffield

CNN Contributor Calls Out Network’s Lies About Trump

A CNN on-air personality took up for President Donald Trump on Thursday against one of the oldest claims made against him in the media.

In a piece for RealClear Politics, Steve Cortes sought to lay to rest the oft-repeated claim that Trump called neo-Nazis “fine people” after the racial riots in Charlottesville in August 2017.

“Trump Didn’t Call Neo-Nazis ‘Fine People.’ Here’s Proof,” read the headline on Cortes’ piece.

Cortes said his article was prompted by an incident last week on CNN when contributor Keith Boykin said, “When violent people were marching with tiki torches in Charlottesville, the president said they were ‘very fine people.’”

When Cortes objected and detailed that Trump’s “’fine people on both sides’ observation clearly related to those on both sides of the Confederate monument debate, and specifically excluded the violent supremacists, anchor Erin Burnett interjected: ‘He [Trump] didn’t say it was on the monument debate at all. No, they didn’t even try to use that defense. It’s a good one, but no one’s even tried to use it, so you just used it now.’”

The remarks by Burnett and Boykin amounted to disputing “our own network’s contemporaneous reporting and the very clear transcripts of the now-infamous Trump Tower presser on the tragic events in Charlottesville.”

He then provided Trump’s exact quote:

“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

In response to another question at the press conference, Trump said, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

Cortes said it can be hard sometimes to follow Trump’s “often meandering and colloquial vernacular in highly adversarial TV settings” and the “sometimes-murky nature of his off-script commentaries,” but said the Charlottesville statements “leave little room for interpretation. For any honest person, therefore, to conclude that the president somehow praised the very people he actually derided reveals a blatant and blinding level of bias.”

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace said that Trump had “given safe harbor to Nazis, to white supremacists,” Cortes wrote. NBC’s Chuck Todd said Trump “’gave me the wrong kind of chills.

“Honestly, I’m a bit shaken from what I just heard.’” And the New York Times ran a headline that read “Trump Gives White Supremacists Unequivocal Boost.”

Cortes said the lie that Trump called Nazis “very fine people” – “like many fake news narratives” – has become gospel for “all but the most skeptical consumers of news” and that it continues to this day.

Just last Sunday, he wrote, Chris Wallace of Fox News asked White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney why Trump had not given a speech “condemning white supremacist bigotry.”

Cortes wrote: “Well, Chris, he has, and more than once.” He then quoted remarks Trump delivered shortly after Charlottesville on the death of Heather Heyer, the woman who was run over by another protestor.

“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” the president said.

Why does this keep happening? “The only explanation for such a repeated falsehood is abject laziness or willful deception,” Cortes wrote. “Either way, the duplicity on this topic perhaps encapsulates the depressingly low trust most Americans place in major media.”


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Author: Brian McNicoll

NY Times Journalists Admit to Anti-Trump Agenda

The New York Times investigative team admitted its has an agenda heading into their anti-Trump reporting during a written Q&A with Times reporters Rebecca Corbett and Dean Murphy published by the Times in a “series of posts explaining some of our journalistic practices.”

“The standard to be able to conclude something definitively — like, say, ‘President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes’ — is really high,” wrote Katie Van Syckle, the Times colleague leading the Q&A. “As an editor, what do you need to feel confident publishing that?”

The lengthy Times’ investigative reporting around President Trump’s father and the Trump family business conceded that the Trump family did nothing that wasn’t commonplace among families of that era. But that didn’t stop Corbett from asserting that their goal in reporting was to be “persuasive” about their preconceived investigative “thesis”–rather than following evidence wherever it leads.

“Stories in my view have to be persuasive,” Corbett said. “Persuasive meaning you can make a case for whatever your thesis is. And your thesis has to be buttressed with all manner of things. It can be documents; it can be interviews; it can be the person’s own statements. Typically it is a combination of many things. There is no one handbook on what makes an investigative story.”

Corbett admitted that the investigative team is often on a fishing expedition, affirming what conservatives know: the Times’ anti-Trump bias is a conditioned reflex.

“Particularly in the Trump presidency, there are so many things to pursue and you just can’t tell on a given day where anything will lead, so there is a lot of chasing down things that don’t materialize,” Corbett said.

Murphy said he gets a “thrill” by creating stories that affirm their self-selected theses.

“I think the thrill is the same across the profession,” Murphy said. “I think a big part of it is the creation part. If you find A and B and are able to make C from it, you are basically creating a C that didn’t exist before. And it is hopefully in an area that makes a difference or has some sort of impact or is relevant to people’s lives.”


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Author: Carrie Sheffield

Morning Joe: Trump ‘Brainwashed’ the GOP

MSNBC’s Morning Joe panelists claimed that President Donald Trump “brainwashed” the GOP about the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), failing to offer context about McCain’s initial attacks on Trump prior to the then-candidate’s response.

The panel failed to mention that the genesis of the dispute began with the criticism that McCain lodged against Trump supporters, calling them “crazies” prior to candidate-Trump’s counterpunch back.

Whether you think that candidate Trump went too far in his counterpunch, the Morning Joe crew failed to acknowledge that it was McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, who first insulted the supporters of his fellow Republican in July 2015, saying that candidate Trump “fired up the crazies” in Arizona when Trump held a rally in Phoenix. By crossing that line, McCain, a seasoned politician dealing with a political newcomer, broke Ronald Reagan’s “Eleventh Commandment” that “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

Host Joe Scarborough asserted that he “completely brainwashed the entire party,” but his co-panelist Mike Barnicle took things one step even further in his attack on the president.

“The president of the United States, the sitting president, is a friendless, empty vessel,” Barnicle said, with no counterbalance to respond to his personal attack on Trump. “He’s a lonely man. he’s a man alone. He is what he is. He’s a liar. He’s cheated. He has all of these stains on his soul that are public, that people know, and they say nothing. They say nothing.”

None of the panelists at the table offered realistic or conciliatory perspective on how to reconcile Trump supporters with the Establishment GOP.

Photo by Lion Multimedia Production U.S.A.


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Author: Carrie Sheffield

FROM THE BORDER: 24 Immigrants Hop the Border in Tijuana

SAN DIEGO – Twenty-four undocumented immigrants climbed over the border fence by Border Field State Park at the San Diego/Tijuana port of entry on Tuesday just after 4 p.m. Border Patrol agents apprehended 18 men and six women minutes after they crossed into the U.S.

23 individuals were from Honduras and one was from Guatemala.

This large group of immigrants crossing comes on the heel of the Trump administration’s new policy to enforce asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases go through the U.S.  immigration courts.

On Tuesday, a handful of asylum seekers had their first immigration hearings before a San Diego Judge.

What is the new policy for asylum seekers?

The new policy recently implemented by the Trump administration is known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. The program, designed by the Homeland Security Department will send asylum seekers back to Mexico as they wait for their immigration court proceedings. Prior to this program, asylum seekers were allowed to stay in the U.S. for years as their immigration court case proceeding through the proper channels. If their status is granted, they can be brought into the U.S.

This week, DHS confirmed an overall 240 people were sent back to Mexico as they waited for their asylum status to be properly processed. The policy has been implemented in the San Ysidro port of entry (San Diego) and will expand to Calexico (Southern California).

While DHS has shown the benefits of the MPP program through increase of undocumented immigrant border statistics, opposition groups are pushing back. Advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU have stated the policy violates the rights of asylum-seekers. The ACLU and other immigration/human rights advocacy groups are suing the federal government to stop the program.

Marissa Martinez is a political contributor for Accuracy in Media. She is the former political director to Massachusetts Governor’s re-election campaign, alumna of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and political consultant to national PACs.


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Author: Marissa Martinez

Salon Doubles Up on Claims Trump is Racist

Salon ran not one but two stories on Tuesday that declared, without evidence, that President Donald Trump is a racist.

The first dealt with a news item – a poll conducted by HuffPost.

“Just 19 percent of Americans think Donald Trump rejects white nationalism: poll,” read the headline. “Meanwhile, 39 percent of Americans said the commander-in-chief, in fact, supports white nationalism,” read the subhead on Shira Tarlo’s story.

She wrote in her lead that “most Americans believe President Donald Trump does not personally oppose white nationalism.”

She cited the results of a poll that was taken just after the murders at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Tarlo attempted to link Trump to the attacks.

“The suspected New Zealand gunman, who is an Australian citizen, allegedly praised Trump as a ‘Symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,’ and referred to immigrants as ‘invaders within our lands’ in a 74-page manifesto filled with hateful rhetoric that he appeared to post on social media before the attack.”

She then resurrected the claim touted in the Washington Post and elsewhere yesterday that although “Trump offered his ‘warmest sympathy’ and ‘best wishes’ to New Zealand in a Friday tweet, calling the massacre a senseless loss of life,” he “did not specifically express condolences to the Muslim community in New Zealand or deliver a message of empathy or support to Muslim Americans, who may feel scared as mosques around the country increased security measures as a result of the attacks.”

She faulted Trump for saying, in response to a question, that he did not believe white nationalism is on the rise in the U.S. – a contention backed by research – but rather “a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”

Tarlo also took issue with presidential aide Kellyanne Conway calling for people to read the entire manifesto, saying this was a bad idea because “multiple studies have revealed that focusing on the identities of mass shooters and their possible motivations may inspire future attacks, as some perpetrators are inspired by notoriety and infamy to carry out an attack.”

The other piece, by David Masciotra, was more direct. “Trump’s racist delusions and the global threat of white hate,” read the headline on his story. “Democracy, security and peace are being endangered by white supremacist hate, while Trump yells about his wall,” read the subhead.

Masciotra began: “Donald Trump, speaking in a style that boldly combines the last call drunken rant with the megaphone corner rave, recently proved that three pillars of America’s executive governance are stupidity, racism and delusion.”

He then discussed Trump saying white nationalism is not on the rise and declared, “All evidence indicates that the group of antisocial and criminal people who have ‘very, very serious problems’ – on that we can agree with our president – are not so small and are not any smaller than the Mexican street gang MS-13, with its estimated membership of 10,000, which Trump has denounced often.”

Research shows there are no more than 5,000 Nazis in the United States, that membership in the Ku Klux Klan is in the 5,000-8,000 range and that MS-13 is a Salvadoran street gang founded in Los Angeles.

To complete the scene, Masciotra notes: “It is worth remembering that the Ku Klux Klan is the deadliest terrorist network in United States history, and that before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the worst terrorist attack in American history was the Oklahoma City bombing. 168 people died in Oklahoma, all at the hands of Timothy McVeigh, a white supremacist and anti-government extremist.”


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Author: Brian McNicoll

Koppel: NYT Was ‘Absolutely Committed to Making Sure’ Trump Wasn’t Elected

Journalist Ted Koppel confirmed that the mainstream media is against President Donald Trump at a recent Carnegie Endowment for International Peace event in Washington, D.C.

“I’m terribly concerned that when you talk about the New York Times these days, when you talk about the Washington Post these days, we’re not talking about the New York Times of 50 years ago,” said Koppel, who started the program Nightline in 1980, when Iran held 52 Americans captive for 444 days before releasing them the day President Ronald Reagan took office.

“We are not talking about the Washington Post of 50 years ago,” Koppel continued. “We’re talking about organizations that I believe have, in fact, decided as organizations that Donald J. Trump is bad for the United States.”

Koppel recalled a moment during the 2016 presidential campaign when he turned to his wife and said, “The Times is absolutely committed to making sure that this guy does not get elected.

“So his perception that the establishment press is out to get him doesn’t mean that great journalism is not being done. It is. But the notion that most of us look upon Donald Trump as being an absolute fiasco, he’s not mistaken in that perception, and he’s not mistaken when so many of the liberal media, for example, described themselves as belonging to the Resistance.”

It’s not that Koppel is a big fan of Trump.

“What does that mean?” he asked of reporters describing themselves as belonging to a far-left political faction. “That’s not said by people who consider themselves reporters, objective reporters of facts. That’s the kind of language that’s used by people who genuinely believe, and I rather suspect with some justification, that Donald Trump is bad for the United States, and they’re betting that the sooner he’s out of office, the better they will like it. Whether that happens by virtue of indictment, impeachment or election, we’ll see. But I disagree with you, Marvin [Kalb, former CBS newsman]. We are not the reservoir of objectivity that I think we were.”

He is not the only one to have noticed.

In summer 2018, NBC News ran a piece on its website headlined, “Media bias against conservatives is real, and part of the reason no one trusts the news now” – subhead” “It might not be conscious, but the way that reporters treat conservatives in their coverage has always shown their liberal leanings.”

In the piece, Republican political strategist Evan Siegfried opens with a vignette that illustrated the situation.

“Members of the media were shocked as he was supposedly revealed as an incredibly anti-woman presidential candidate, perhaps even the most ever nominated by a major political party in the modern era. He has admitted that he reduced women to objects and the Democrats pounced, seeking to make him lose the support of women and, in turn, the presidency.”

It wasn’t Trump in this instance; it was Mitt Romney in 2012 after he said he had “binders full of women” that he was looking at for key positions in his administration if he won.

Siegfried wrote the public has started to notice, and politicians – including and, perhaps, especially President Trump – have started to use bias against them to their advantage.

Two-thirds of Americans believe the media has a hard time separating fact from opinion and 62 percent say the press is biased, Siegfried wrote. But 92 percent of Republicans in another survey said they believe the media intentionally reports false stories.

This enables Trump to “effectively weaponize people’s distrust of the media, especially among his base,” Siegfried wrote.  “He and his supporters dismiss any news that does not portray him in a positive light, labeling it ‘fake news.’”

Trump has gone beyond the media to “now accuse facts themselves” of being “arrayed against him. To hear the president tell it, reality has an anti-Trump bias – and is supporters are eating it up. Even when confronted with evidence, particularly from the media, the Trump base refuses to believe the truth, instead choosing to buy into the lie because it makes them feel good.”


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Author: Brian McNicoll