On June 25, Donald Trump was quoted in an interview on Noticiero Telemundo stating:
“I love the Mexican people. I love Mexico. I’ve had tremendous relationships with Mexico for many many years, and frankly that’s very important to me.”
This seems to be Donald Trump’s clearly stated position and view regarding the Mexican people.
Unfortunately, this statement of his didn’t make it into the mainstream media, because news reporters, journalists, and the public were obsessing over a misquoted, out of context, and misinterpreted statement that Trump made a week earlier.
On June 16, Donald Trump made the following comments about a small subset of undocumented ‘illegal’ Mexican immigrants:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. [Pointing to people in the crowd as an example.] They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
A video clip of Trump’s speech that aired on the Daily Show, was edited to depict Trump saying:
“When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best… They’re rapists, and some I assume are good people.” (source @ 7:08)
That modified video clip was played repeatedly. Other media outlets did the same thing in misreporting Trump’s words. The Daily Beast referred to Trump’s words as “the ‘Mexicans are rapists’ comments.'”
So, Trump’s statement was ultimately conveyed by the media and heard by the public as:
“Donal Trump thinks all Mexican immigrants are drug dealers, murderers, criminals, and rapists.”
That’s obviously not what Trump was saying.
He is saying that people who are highly educated well established, fully employed, law abiding citizens, who contribute to their society are typically not the ones who want to flee a country under cover of night without documentation. Those who are in trouble with the law sometimes want to flee a country. A border that’s easy to cross can be an entry point for criminals — which indeed it has been.
Trump wasn’t saying that all Mexican immigrants are criminals. He was saying that some people who come to the U.S. have a criminal record, and those people should be stopped, or if caught, sent back to where they came from (if they present a threat).
On July 2, Steve King (R-Iowa) tried to clarify Trump’s statement:
“Well, I think what happens is it gets distorted perhaps a little bit. He didn’t say most Mexicans are rapists… He’s generally speaking of the criminals that are doing this.”
On July 8, the Washington Post clarified Trump’s statement in this way:
“In his July 6 statement, Trump clarified that he was referring to cases where undocumented immigrants commit violent crimes or smuggle drugs. He pointed to the recent incident in San Francisco, where an undocumented immigrant and a repeat felon who had been deported five times to Mexico was arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting a woman.”
In an interview about this scandal Trump elaborated: “… and I’m not just talking Mexico. I’m talking [from] all over the world they’re coming through the southern border.” It’s clear Trump isn’t saying all immigrants are criminals, but that we need to be careful not to allow criminals from any country to enter the United States.
Despite repeated attempts by many to clarify what Trump said, his comments continued to be misreported.
Eventually, companies began cutting ties with Trump as a result of this misinformation campaign.
In addition to companies severing ties with Trump, the misreporting of his comments has now resulted in death threats. A Mexican drug lord that ABC News calls “one of the most dangerous criminals in the world” has now broken out of a maximum security prison and is reportedly threatening Trump.
Trump is losing millions and now his life is in danger because of the misreported story.
The news media (and subsequently the public) took what Trump said about undocumented immigrants as a comment about all Mexican immigrants — despite Trump repeatedly explaining what he really meant.
The news media then began to prove Trump wrong on a statement he never made. Here’s an example from the Washington Post in an article on this subject:
“First-generation immigrants are predisposed to lower crime rates than native-born Americans.” (source)
These facts align with common sense. If one were to make a generalized statement about all illegal immigrants, it’s probably fair to say that many come here for jobs that pay well compared to what’s available in their home country. They aren’t criminals. They are simply looking for a better life.
With regard to Donald Trump, there may well be valid reasons to criticize him, but let’s make sure our criticism is based on something he’s actually said or done, and not misrepresentations.
This article isn’t really about Donald Trump. It’s about how the media can misreport news, and very few people will actually do the fact checking to find out what really was said or what really happened.
On 6 June 2016, Amnesty International published an article on the epidemic of institutionalized rape culture in Mexico that is prevalent and among law enforcement. As an organization, Amnesty International wasn’t saying ‘all Mexican’s are rapists’ but simply reporting on a fact that numerous cases have been documented where women are raped while being detained. As with Donald Trump’s observation, the focus was on a small group. Nobody said a word about Amnesty’s report being potentially offensive.