Friday, November 23, 2018


You remember the statistics:
In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, news of a migrant caravan moving through Mexico toward the United States dominated the airwaves....

After the elections, however, interest in the caravan fell sharply at all three networks....

From Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, the seven days immediately preceding election day, Grabien data found the word “caravan” was spoken 1,202 times on Fox News, 834 times on CNN and 586 times on MSNBC.

From Nov. 7 to to Nov. 13, the seven days immediately after the election, Fox News mentioned the word “caravan” just 203 times – an 83 percent drop in references – CNN 75 times and MSNBC 110 times.
According to the conventional wisdom, the caravan, like Ebola in 2014, was a phony issue meant to scare Republican voters. Republicans and Fox News talked about it incessantly before Election Day, and the non-conservative press played along, but no one on the right really cared, and the subject was unceremoniously dropped as soon as the polls closed.

But as I said a week after Election Day, "I never believed that -- right-wingers are always talking about how evil immigration is."

We can see what's happening now:
President Trump issued a Thanksgiving Day threat to close the “whole” southern border if Mexico can’t control the migrant caravan, which the president claimed is filled with at least “500 serious criminals.”

“If we find that it’s uncontrollable,” then “we will close entry into the country for period of time until we can get it under control. The whole border,” Trump told reporters at Mar-a-lago Thursday.

Citing unrest from the migrant caravan in Tijuana, Mexico, Trump threatened to halt commerce with Mexico if the southern ally doesn’t clamp down on the caravan.

“We will close the border and that means that Mexico’s not going to be able to sell their cars into the United States until it’s open,” Trump said.
This was a couple of days after the White House authorized the use of force by military troops at the border, in likely violation of the Posse CDComitatus Act (although Defense Secretary Jim Mattis now says the troops won't be armed).

Also, here's the lead story at right now:

I wonder what the number of mentions will be for the word "caravan" on cable news in the next couple of weeks. The story was clearly ginned up for the election, but not just for the election. Immigration is now the main battle in the right's culture war, so much so that it's the day after Thanksgiving and we're barely hearing conservatives talk about "the war on Christmas." The caravan as a scare story isn't going away.

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