Topic: Media Research Center
The saga of Border Patrol agents being accused of whipping migrants may be over -- but the Media Research Center's misinformation campaign about it isn't. An April 25 post by Scott Whitlock began with a lie:
All three broadcast networks in the fall of 2021 smeared border patrol agents as monsters who “whipped” illegal immigrants in “horrific,” “alarming” video. The footage showed a small number of agents on horseback struggling to stop migrants from crossing the Rio Grande.
As we documented, the MRC never quoted the broadcast networks accusing Border Patrol agents of "whipping" migrants. Whitlock continued to mislead:
Back in the fall of 2021, ABC hammered the story for five days straight (From September 20th through the 24th) on Good Morning America and World News Tonight, smearing the agents for seven minutes and nine seconds. CBS Mornings and the CBS Evening News came in second with three minutes and 12 seconds and NBC pushed the now-false claims for three minutes and four seconds on Today and Nightly News.
With no evidence of malice, the networks uncritically assumed the worst. On the September 21, 2021 Today, co-host Hoda Kotb scolded, “But this morning, a new controversy: Shocking images of border agents appearing to whip migrants.”
The September 23, 2021 CBS Mornings featured radical Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, sliming the agents as racist: “We witnessed cowboys, with their reins again, whipping black people, Haitians, into the water.”
Kotb's observation is factually correct: It did, in fact, look like Border Patrol agents were whipping migrants. And CBS merely quoting Waters is not the same as Whitlock's false claim that the netework itself made the "whipping" claim.
Whitlock went on to praise Fox News for adhering to right-wing poliical narratives by hyping the clearing of the Border Patrol agents and whining that the Biden White House should apologize to them, when added: "It would also be nice if journalists would come out and apologize for smearing these border agents with accusations of racist whipping attacks. They highlighted the accusations, claims that have now fallen apart. They need to cover the story, even if it makes Joe Biden — and the press — look bad."
It would also be nice if Whitlock and the MRC stopped lying and apologized for their previous lies, but that's not what they do. Indeed, Curtis Houck perpetuated the lie in a July 11 post:
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report through Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) that cleared the agents maligned and falsely accused of using horse reins as whips against illegal immigrants from Haiti trying to cross into the U.S. while also proposing punishment for using “poor judgement” and “vulgar” language.
But given that first part debunking the liberal media-led push to claim the illegals were whipped, the flagship morning and evening newscasts and ABC and NBC steered clear of this report and have yet to give it a second.
CBS Mornings and CBS Saturday Morning also ignored it, which left the CBS Evening News as the lone newscast to cover the findings for a measly 21 seconds (not including a nine-second tease). Even that, however, was tilted and chose not to exonerate the agents.
As expected, Houck cited no evidence to back up his claim that the networks accuwed the agents of "whipping" migrants -- because there isn't any. Instead, he sucked up to Fox News for pushing the narrative: "Over on the Fox News Channel’s Special Report, the indefatigable Bill Melugin showed viewers that there are still a few great journalists left, giving one minute and 38 seconds to the report."
Nowhere in the exerpt that Houck reproduced did Megulin specifically cite any example of someone else claiming the agents "whipped" migrants, simply calling it a "false narrative." But then, as far as Houck is concerned, if a right-wing journalist is pushing right-wing narratives -- and, more importantly, doesn't step on the MRC's own false narrative -- he must be considered "great."