Trump's immigration uproar: Bad PR, bad reporting

Judging from the thousands of people who turned out to protest President Donald Trump's executive orders pausing the U.S. refugee program and temporarily blocking entry for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries, you might gotten the impression that thousands had been detained.

Not quite.

Vice News reported:

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security started telling news outlets, including ABC and NBC, that all individuals detained after Trump’s executive order on immigration over the weekend have since been released....

On Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security appeared to have a list of those who’d been denied entry but not a list of those detained. DHS told Reuters “about” 375 travelers had been affected by the order, including 109 who were denied entry and 173 prevented from boarding flights.

Phew. You'd have thought from media reports that focused and refocused and then re-refocused on the sign-carrying protestors that thousands have been spirited away into the government's dark dungeons. Not so.

Other information that hasn't got enough press attention are pointed out on the White House website:

My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting..... There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. [Emphasis added]

The mishandling of the rollout of this policy is a perfect example of what so many people feared about Trump: That's he's impulsive and not thoughtful enough, especially when he's around the nuclear button. But it's also a perfect example of how the press will focus on the anecdotal that makes Trump look bad without enough balanced reporting.

The Trump policy should have been less vague and clearer about allowing people in who are worthy of entrance, such as people and their families that helped the United States in the Iraq War.

By the way, you'd think from the world-wide reaction that everyone thinks that they have a right to enter the United States. It's not their right. Is is a privilege.

Related: Trump's refugee ban isn't as un-American as you might think.

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  • Having taken marketing, the first rule is "Bad PR results in bad reporting." The second one was "you gotta have a crisis response plan." However, there wasn't Twitter in those days.

    However, the Chicago Tribune ran a Washington Post report that the quote you picked up won 2 Pinnochios. In short, you have to be a little more careful about your reporting, too.

  • In reply to jack:

    From the Washington Post:
    "The Trump White House’s figures on the scope of the travel ban are ludicrously low. The universe of people likely affected by the travel suspension is around 90,000 — not 109. The White House should also not use the overall daily number of travelers as a comparison.
    Four Pinocchios"

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Wait, what does "affected" mean? Is Washington Post saying that 90,000 people were actually detained? Or was it saying that 90,000 people potentially could be detained? If so, how long were they detained? How many were turned away? How many were held, if any, as terrorists threats or law breakers?

    I just looked at the WaPo story: It's clear that we're talking about apples and oranges. The 90,000 figure is not the actual number detained. While the 109 figure might not be entirely accurate (I've seen figures as high as 300+), that's a whole lot different from the 90,000 figure. WoPo gets four Pinocchios for fudging. That you confused the two indicates that once again the WaPo has been successful in confusing the issue, on the side of the left.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    I think that the WaPo was debunking the "we were just doing what the Obama Administration did," not the debate between jnorto and you about some "affected" number.

    However, I'm surprised the Chef Doktorskaya* and other members of the wing nut right tolerate a tweet that their hero did the same thing Obama did, regardless if it is true or false.

    BTW, the Trib also had an AP report that the guy who started the vote fraud "fake news" on which Trump relied is registered in 3 states. But I guess it takes one to know one.

    *Russian baloney sold at the few Garden Fresh Markets that are left, if you are not familiar with it.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    What does "affected" mean in your preferred news story? ("DHS told Reuters “about” 375 travelers had been affected by the order....") Shame on Vice News for fudging, causing your confusion.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    You may have noticed that a government attorney has now disclosed in federal court that over 100,000 visas have been revoked as a result of President Trump’s ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

    Seems WaPo was much closer to the truth than your information source, Vice News.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Whatever the numbers are, this sure puts as a lie a commenter's post about a week back that the president couldn't singularly affect much. Even while some visa cancellations (like that of the person from Chicago) have been overturned by the courts, this illegal executive order has caused a considerable amount of grief.In the meantime, various "White House souses" keep inventing "alternative facts" to support it, again cutting the legs from under "the Obama Administration also did it" rationale.

  • fb_avatar

    If Trump's executive order is a "Muslim ban," then why are citizens from a couple dozen Muslim-majority countries (e.g. Indonesia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) unaffected by the action?

  • In reply to MillerDan:

    You have to ask Rudy Giuliani that one. I suppose that one of his directives for "making it legal" was to avoid overbreadth. However, his remarks provide clear legal evidence of improper animus.

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