CNN’s chief media reporter Brian Stelter thinks too many news resources are being devoted to covering the migrant caravan that is winding its way to the United States.
The migrant caravan turns from a crisis to a threat
As you’ve undoubtedly heard, a caravan of 7,000 people is making its way to the U.S. after crossing various Central American countries. The caravan has now reached Mexico, and it’s unclear if the Mexican authorities will be able to prevent it from reaching America’s southern border. But it’s not that simple. On-the-ground reports from Fox News suggest that the caravan is transporting individuals from non-Central American countries, including people from other continents such as Africa and Asia. (RELATED: Fox News Reporter: Caravan Includes Migrants from India, Bangladesh, And Africa.)
The caravan crisis has reached such a proportion that a second caravan is now forming in El Salvador, which is a hotbed for MS-13 gang activity. (RELATED: Second Caravan Forming In El Salvador, Set to Travel to U.S.) Should we continue to ignore this mass movement of people, they’ll soon be knocking on our door, demanding to be let in.
The caravan is clearly a big deal and it’s important enough to have garnered the attention of the President who is vowing to stop it. But not everyone finds it a fascinating subject.
Brian Stelter urges you to avert your eyes from the migrant caravan
Stelter thinks we’re all paying way too much attention to the caravan, despite its ballooning size. (RELATED: Migrant Caravan Increases to 7,000, Trump Responds by Alerting Border Patrol.) In his late-evening newsletter, he asks, “Too much caravan coverage?”
It’s a provocative question, but step back and ask yourself: Why is a caravan of migrants 1,000 miles away from the US border saturating American news coverage? I’m not diminishing the humanitarian element to the story, which does warrant attention, but the truth is that it’s unlikely the story would be covered so thoroughly on the airwaves, in the newspapers and on various websites if President Trump were not talking about it. It’s news because Trump has made it news.
Stelter misunderstands the role of the media
Sorry, Brian. That’s not how “news” works. As a reporter and media analyst, you of all people should understand that. President Trump can only create news insomuch as you and your journalism colleagues cover it. The President can yell and scream all day about issues, but they only get coverage if CNN puts a camera in front of him.
Stelter is putting the cart before the horse: the media’s coverage of certain items makes them news. Otherwise, it’s just noise.
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Stelter has been busy promoting the idea that Trump is using the caravan crisis as a wedge issue to boost Republican turnout in the midterms:
“The President is doing what he does best, seizing national attention with a flood of outrageous and improbable lies that drown out rivals, leverage his brawling personality and rip at fault lines of race, identity and patriotism” —@StCollinson https://t.co/Y3lWH0ikYN
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 23, 2018
Trump may be doing that. It is, after all, smart politics. Trump ran for the presidency and won largely on the issue of illegal immigration. Why wouldn’t he use this instance of a band of migrants demanding illegal entry into the U.S. as yet more evidence that our immigration system is painfully broken?
Let’s remember that Trump, as a candidate, received an estimated $2 billion in free media coverage. The media chose to cover Trump because he deftly manipulated reporters into following his every word. The media benefited financially from this coverage, especially CNN. Even legendary journalist Ted Koppel made this exact point to Stelter recently, who only reacted with profuse denial.
Ted Koppel tells pipsqueak Brian Stelter of CNN that without Donald Trump, CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet.
Brian Stelter is a weasel and he deserves every bit of this. pic.twitter.com/G5MnyQtXRa
— Mike (@mike_Zollo) October 6, 2018
Is caravan coverage all about the midterms?
With the midterm elections only two weeks away, and the eyes of the country focused on the migrant caravan, why is Stelter now demanding his network and other news networks look elsewhere, away from the caravan, to other items?
It’s not because Trump is actually succeeding in making the caravan issue something that will help Republicans in the elections, is it?
Surely, Stelter doesn’t want to be accused of tilting his coverage in such a way as to influence an election.
In the end, we know that Stelter, along with many of his CNN colleagues, will follow the only thing that matters in the news business: rating and revenue. They’ll keep covering the caravan because the American public cares about it. No amount of hand-wringing will stop that.
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