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Tipsheet

Reuters 'News' Article on Biden's Border Visit Is Textbook Propaganda

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

For the first time during his presidency -- and arguably the first time in his entire multi-decade political career -- Joe Biden finally visited the US-Mexico border on Sunday, following months of questions about whether he'd do so.  As I said on Fox News over the weekend, critics who've been calling for this visit should acknowledge that it happened without being reflexively cynical about it.  Biden putting himself in a position to at least have a chance of glimpsing the disastrous effects of his policies, and possibly learning something from people on the ground, could be a somewhat positive development.  On the other hand, the sanitization process that preceded the president's arrival guaranteed that Biden wouldn't witness the true extent of the crisis he's fueled to historic levels:

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Here is the radio interview I referenced in that clip (from Friday's show, halfway through), in which former acting ICE Director Tom Homan said his sources in El Paso told him officials were "cleaning that place up to look like Disneyland" ahead of Biden rolling in:


To some extent this was a Potemkin visit, designed to minimize the extent of the raging humanitarian/sovereignty/security crisis in the eyes of the man chiefly responsible for the dysfunction. We'll get more of a sense of just how much this was a stage-managed, box-checking exercise (like the Vice President's pointless visit was) as reports continue to flow in over the course of the week.  The White House finally capitulated to growing bipartisan demands that Biden make an appearance, but they're almost certainly counting on two things moving forward, both involving the news media.  First, they're expecting that journalists will dutifully move on rather quickly after covering the visit, framing the crisis in terms that are as favorable to the administration as possible.  This Reuters report published over the weekend is exhibit A on how the press slants things to assist their preferred political party. The headline -- 'Biden to visit Mexico border in migrant push, but Republicans are his biggest wall' -- sets up the designated villains in advance. The real problem, you see, are the Republicans. Always. Here's how the piece begins (update: It looks like Reuters has since changed the headline and altered the content):

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President Joe Biden will visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday for the first time since taking office nearly two years ago, tackling one of the most politically charged issues in the country as he prepares for a reelection bid. Biden on Thursday announced fresh plans to block Cuban, Haitian and Nicaraguan migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, expanding the nationalities of migrants who can be expelled back to Mexico, and the visit to El Paso, Texas, isn't expected to yield any new policy breakthroughs. Instead, it is meant to demonstrate that the U.S. president is taking the issue seriously, stop nagging questions about when he plans to visit, shore up relations with border patrol, and potentially give him another chance to push Congress to pass new laws to fix a broken system. However, Republicans' newly assumed control of the House of Representatives essentially blocks prospects for any legislative fixes, leaving Biden with few good options...Republicans have continually used the border issue as a cudgel against Biden, blaming him for failing to crack down harder. And with a thin Republican majority in the House that gives the party's hardliners greater clout, there is little hope for compromise.

Incredible. The lede basically regurgitates the White House's talking positioning of the trip, making multiple references to the problematic Republicans not wanting to compromise to fix the problem, "leaving Biden with few good options." Actually, he has several good options that do not require any Congressional agreement or new legislation. He could re-implement late Trump-era policies that dramatically stemmed the flow of illegal migrants across the border. He doesn't want to, for political reasons (anger among leftist activists is mentioned in the story), but that doesn't mean the 'good options' don't exist. They do. The Reuters piece quotes three Democrats and zero Republicans, not even attempting a feint at balance. Readers also learn that GOP members oppose Biden's "immigration reform" plans (there's a requisite 'Republicans seize' in there, of course), and that illegal immigration has "bedeviled" administrations of both parties. 

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Perhaps progressive critics will cite this as an egregious example of what they often complain about as 'dishonest both-sidesing' in media accounts that 'normalize' the other side -- but I wouldn't hold your breath. Despite including one or two minor notes about the historic nature of the problem, and Biden's unpopularity on the issue, this story is unavoidably propagandistic, and therefore fairly representative of the genre.  As for Biden's newly announced policy shifts, this is how Fox's Bill Melugin summarized them late last week:

If you listen to the Homan interview embedded above, he agrees with this analysis.  He thinks this is tantamount to moving people around into different buckets, creating bogus, 'temporary' (how many people would leave after the supposed two-year parole period?) 'legal' status as a shell game to manipulate the numbers.  Longtime federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy argues that on top of everything else, it's an unlawful "scam" under which Biden is "willfully failing to execute the laws faithfully when it comes to illegal immigration."  Which speaks to the second factor Team Biden is counting on from their allies in the news media:  Close to zero examination of whether this is legal (expect court challenges), plus triumphal, contextless crowing about dropping encounters under the parole 'scam,' even if more illegal migration has been incentivized, and even if got-aways continue to explode.  I'll leave you with these crisis updates, including some interesting Dem-on-Dem squabbling, the dynamics of which probably help explain why Biden's team felt like they couldn't just:

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As a reminder, when the Biden administration puts illegal migrants on planes and buses, that's fine.  When Republican governors do it, it's "human trafficking."  It's unclear whether Colorado's governor is a human trafficker under these rules.  On one hand, he's a Democrats, so he's got that going for him.  On the other, he's angering other Democrats in deep blue 'sanctuary' cities, so that may be a strike against him.  Regardless, there's surely a Republican to blame for all of this somewhere -- even though it's all the direct result of this Democratic administration's (seemingly intentionally) failing policies.


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