The AP recently put out a story that is in effect and intent, a lie. It was published July 6 under the more-than-misleading headline: “AP NewsBreak: US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits.” As intended, it looks bad. But in reality, it is open flimflam based on the contents of the story itself. Yet it’s tentacles are spreading as others are now picking up the fraudulent narrative and re-spreading it.
As we reported last week, there is not one data point in the story supporting the headline, just some unsubstantiated comments from immigration lawyers plus a few anecdotes. In the big picture, this is the normal vetting policy the Army always does — looking for anything from terrorist connections, to MS-13 or other gang activity to mental issues to anything subversive. The AP was writing about a program instituted 16 years ago to give “expedited naturalization” for immigrants who enlist in the military and receive an honorable discharge. (Including illegal immigrants? Well, guess who doesn’t say, because the media officially refuses to acknowledge any difference.)
The AP reporters talked to some immigration attorneys who told them “they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable.” They do not provide any timeframe. Deep into the story, the AP admitted it: “was unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army…” So they have nothing but some anecdotes and a quote.
More than 110,000 recruits completed the program and received naturalization in the 16 years that the program has existed. Yet the AP bases the story on an immigrant lawyer telling them that 40 had not passed the background checks recently and then runs the inflammatory headline. How does that compare to past years? We don’t know or they’re not saying. Maybe there has been a shift, but where is the supporting evidence? The worst of journalism is taking a couple of anecdotes and creating a politically contrived narrative. It’s really hard to not consider this story irresponsible and inflammatory, and the headline a simple lie.
But it hardly ends with the story. Remember, the AP is a massive, if somewhat shrouded, news organization that produces 2,000 stories daily and is used by 900 newsrooms globally reaching literally half the world’s population.
After the initial wave of impact from the story, it becomes background for more stories and columns. Exhibit A is Esther Cepeda, a syndicated Washington Post columnist based in Chicago whose columns are published nationally in more than 125 media outlets from Dallas to Denver to Vegas to Indy to Minneapolis to San Diego. She is considered an “expert on U.S. Hispanic/Latino issues” by the left-leaning Aspen Institute.
Cepeda used the deceptive AP story as the basis for a column attacking Trump entitled “Trump administration is shooting itself in the foot.”
Cepeda wrote about the “Trump administration’s recent move to discharge immigrants who enlisted with the promise of a path to citizenship, as The Associated Press recently reported. In all, an estimated 15,000 foreign-born people in the military could either be kicked out or have their applications for citizenship delayed or denied.” [Emphasis added]
Where does the 15,000 number come from? Cepeda doesn’t give a citation for it. The original AP disinformation does not use it. Presumably, it is the total number of immigrants currently in the military. Using that number tends to inflate the “story” considerably from the 40 that an immigrant attorney said.
Cepeda uses the phrase “eliminating highly qualified immigrants” without any citation that they are indeed “highly” qualified. It’s just in her column. In other words, she just nudged up the AP deception meter a little higher. Her column will undoubtedly be quoted by others now using “highly qualified,” because of course, she’s an expert.
Meanwhile, Youtube, Facebook and Google are all tipping the scales to provide more exposure and support for these supposedly trustworthy organizations such as the AP and the Washington Post, while slowly silencing alternative news and views outlets, such as The Revolutionary Act.
For centuries, versions of the saying that a lie travels around the world before the truth gets its boots laced up has been used. But in the age of massive news gathering organizations and virtually immediate technological distribution of information — or misinformation — it’s never been more true.
Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist and current TV talking head, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
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