Saturday, April 10, 2021


Here's the headline of a Reuters story:

Now here's the headline of a New York Post story based on the Reuters story:

Notice the key difference? Reuters says the Biden administration is considering payments to "Central America." The Post says the payments are going to "Central Americans."

The main difference in the wording is two letters. The difference in right-wing outrage is incalculable.

The Reuters story says:
The United States is considering a conditional cash transfer program to help address economic woes that lead migrants from certain Central American countries to trek north, as well as sending COVID-19 vaccines to those countries, a senior White House official told Reuters on Friday.

The potential program would be targeted at people in the Northern Triangle region of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border coordinator, told Reuters in an interview, without saying who exactly would receive cash....

“The one thing I can promise you is the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people,” Jacobson said....

Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, has called for $4 billion in development aid to Central America over four years to address underlying causes of migration. On Friday, the White House requested $861 million from Congress for that effort in Biden’s first annual budget proposal. That would be a sharp increase from the roughly $500 million in aid this year.
In other words, this is the kind of response you have to an immigration problem if you're grown-ups: You attempt to use the wealth of the United States to help solve problems and improve conditions in countries from which people are fleeing in order to get to the United States.

I've added emphasis to point out specifically what won't happen. But the Post cynically tweaks the Reuters headline, knowing that anti-immigrant rage addicts will barely read past the new headline and conclude that giving cash to individual immigrants is precisely what the Biden administration intends to do.

Here's how the Post story begins:
It’s pay to stay away.

The Biden administration is considering sending cash payments to Central Americans in a bid to prevent them from making the trek north as the US grapples with the worst immigration crisis seen in 20 years, Reuters reported Friday.

The potential cash transfer program would be targeted at residents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which account for the overwhelming majority of migrants illegally crossing the border, Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border coordinator, told the outlet.
So the payments are "targeted at residents," according to the Post. Six paragraphs later, near the end of the story, we're told:
Jacobson, who announced Friday she is stepping down, couldn’t explain to Reuters how the program would work but did say she can “promise” “the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people.”
So the payments aren't "targeted at residents"? Which is it? But by this time it's assumed that the reader's blood is already boiling at the prospect of American checks going to individual brown foreigners.

Thought leaders on the right are now promoting the Post's version of the Reuters story:

This is how they do it. This is how they've done it for years -- big lies are useful sometimes, but tiny adjustments to the truth can pack an outrage wallop, and most people won't even notice that they're lies.

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