Recently, a judge in Texas ordered the buoy barrier placed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the U.S. Mexico border in Eagle Pass, Texas to be moved closer to Texas’ shores. However, the vast majority of major media decided to publish headlines claiming the court ordered the barrier “removed”. Despite clarifying the wording within their articles, the headline is all many need to spread misinformation among desperate asylum-seekers seeking safety and amnesty.
The Associated Press is one of the only outlets aside from the Antagonist Magazine that worded its headline and article accordingly. Nearly every other legacy media outlet opted to create articles that are undoubtedly used by human smugglers who are known for spreading misinformation among the caravans headed to the United States from various countries around the world.
Monitoring channels migrants use in encrypted messaging apps raised alarms over just how far and fast the information began to travel. It came as no surprise to many that the larger caravans of migrants began to manifest soon after the story. Similar to the chaos created just as Title 42 was being lifted, the “news” media landscape was on fire with clickbait. The evidence of how broad the impact affected the general population in the U.S. was evident on social media.
The explosion of that information among asylum-seekers was just as expansive.
However, the more we tried to point out that the judge ordered the buoy barrier “repositioned,” not replaced, the more people treated us like we were wrong and misread the court order. And yet, the next day, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the buoy barrier could stay after Gov. Abbott had the barrier moved prior to the original decision, thus, clearing the waterway for Customs and Border Protection’s airboats and out of Mexican waters.
That story, like the actual wording of the order, got little attention compared to the myriad articles claiming the barrier was ordered removed. That is precisely how former president Donald Trump made it into office. He made outlandish claims that got tons of attention. But when it came to debunking the nonsense, the truth got much less traction than his inflammatory rhetoric did.
Any advocate who knows anything about why and when people migrate from their homelands to seek refuge in the U.S. immediately knew that the headlines would lead to migrants being exploited into making the trek north. When MSNBC reported more than a week later that migrants said they “heard” that the passage was open at Eagle Pass where the buoys are, it was clear where that idea came from.
Unlike when the lifting of Title 42 was imminent and the misinformation spread created such confusion that most migrants feared crossing the border, this time the message sent made them think crossing would be easier. Adding to all the rhetoric from Republicans who keep claiming the border is open, it’s obvious that legacy media (in both English and Spanish) have once again helped lead migrants to the proverbial slaughter.
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