Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Fox News Finds A New Low - Internment "Summer" Camps

Pushing next Disney blog back to next week.  To much to discuss this week.


Just when you think they can not dig any deeper, they find a bigger shovel.

If you ever had a doubt that Fox News presented a very biased agenda, you need look no further.  Fox News host Laura Ingraham had to weigh in on the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant families at the border as part of its "zero tolerance" enforcement of immigration law.

"More kids are being separated from their parents and temporarily housed in what are essentially summer camps, or as The San Diego Union Tribune described them today, as basically looking like boarding schools.  The American people are footing a really big bill for what is tantamount to a slow-rolling invasion of the United States." {emphasis added}

Oh yes.  I remember summer camps where we were kept inside chain-link cages and were heard wailing for our parents, but not allowed to be comforted.  I remember summer camp in a tent city in west Texas summers.  And I remember going to summer camp and being away from any family when I was under 2 as well.

It seems a lot of people supporting this issue have forgotten the maxim, "it is better to remain silent and let the world believe you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Ms. Ingraham did, at least, partially correctly quote the San Diego Union Tribune.  They did report that the Casa San Diego facility for immigrant children has "classrooms, a play area with soccer goals and a medical clinic with superheroes like Wonder Woman, Superman and the Hulk on the walls."  She apparently though suffers from the same lack of reading comprehension that Jeff Sessions has shown.  Had she continued, she would have noticed how the paper also described the prison-like setting.  "On closer inspection, details about the California-licensed child care facility run by Southwest Key Programs reflect the situation of the children it serves.  It's surrounded by fencing that is backed by privacy netting, and a sign at the gate warns visitors that it's under video surveillance 24 hours per day.  If someone opens the front door of the facility without first swiping a badge, an alarm blares through the hallway, warning of a potential escape."

I know they get their marching orders from the administration and are given the thankless task of trying to put as much spin on the effects as possible.  But you would think they might choose their words a little more carefully.

At some point this has to rise above party.  Above the liberal and conservative divide.

At some point, this has to appall everyone at a basic human level.

We can debate immigration policy.  We can even disagree on approaches.  But everyone should recognize that this is inhumane.  NO OTHER COUNTRY has a policy of separating families of those seeking asylum.  Crossing our border illegally is a misdemeanor.  This is the equivalent of arresting a person for a speeding violation and sending the driver to jail and their children in the car to a "detention facility" across town.

Even worse, we are most often doing this to people seeking asylum.  Seeking refuge.  Are we that xenophobic and/or flat out racist that we are going to turn away people in need?  In need of protection from gang violence in their native countries?  In need of protection from domestic abuse that goes unprosecuted in their native land?  We're that callous as to reject any claim of a "credible fear" for their lives in their previous homes.

Is it because they are brown?

I'm seriously searching for justification as to how this can possibly be okay.  And the only thing I can come up with is that we have determined that these immigrants don't matter.

If your justifications are butwhatabout sputters (what about Obama, what about..., etc.), it's still a bad policy.

If your justifications are that they broke the law, again, it's just a misdemeanor.  It's usually a fine and turning them away (as a whole family).  It's still a bad policy.

If your justifications are that this is the Democrats' fault, that they are the ones who left the administration with the law in the first place, then you should remember that YOU ARE THE ONES IN THE BEST POSITION TO CHANGE THE LAW NOW.  Seriously, Trump administration, you cannot use an excuse of being saddled with this law when you have control of the executive, legislative, and a majority of the judicial branches.  You can change the law.  That would also require such a law to actually exist, which it does not.  This horrible incident is occurring because of instructions regarding enforcement of the policy, which are completely within the control of the executive branch.  If you are using it as a bargaining chip to get your wall built, get over it, change the enforcement of the policy, and then focus on building the wall.

Because right now, we're just continuing to try and justify our actions while thousands of children and families are being traumatized, humiliated, and degraded.

All this while we are withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council.  Yeah, really.

We're better than this.  At least we should be.

There is a meme going around that posits "If you ever wondered what you would have done in 1930s Germany or during the civil rights moment, congratulations: you're doing it now."

I don't know that we're there yet.

But we're getting closer.


  1. I definitely don't know the ins and outs of the no tolerance policy. From what little I do know, it certainly doesn't seem defensible. As of yesterday, it has changed, but even then it's at best debatable.

    However, I do take issue with the remainder of the San Diego Tribune story that you quoted. Their description of prisonish conditions was actually that of a typical urban/suburban daycare.

    Most of the daycare's that I'm aware of have privacy fences be they wood or chain link with privacy mesh.

    At least people at this facility people can get in with the swipe of a card. At our present daycare we have no way into the facility except for the front desk staff to remotely unlock the door as we wave through the window. At other daycares that Brooke and I visited, there was no way to get to the kids without inputting a passcode on the door. In general, this security made us feel much more comfortable with a facility.

    Many facilities also have video surveillance. Sometimes parents are even given remote access to the these streams to check in on their kids (though I'm sure that's not the case in this instance). The cameras are also used to prevent and identify child abuse.

    All of these devices are used to prevent a parent's worst nightmare, kidnapping, mass shootings, and child abuse. And all of these devices are common.

    I seriously doubt that all of the facilities for the migrant children are as nice as the one described. And even if they were, a gilded cage is still a prison. However, the Tribune is using cryptic and somewhat misleading language to describe a facility that sounds typical for hundreds of thousands of metro area kids across the country.

    You also note that improper entry is a misdemeanor, and then compare it to a traffic violation. However, most traffic violations do not even rise to the level of misdemeanors and are instead considered infractions. If you want to keep the traffic violation analogy, a better comparison would be DUI, hit and run (where there is no personal injury), or fleeing the police by vehicle. All of these result in arrest more often than not. And if you have your kids with you during these offenses, they will be separated from you while you are detained. And if family cannot be found, they will stay in state supervision of some form.

    While your comparison is not really legally accurate, this situation should be treated differently. Improper entry and seeking asylum is not nearly as bad as some misdemeanors (assault and batter, misdemeanor domestic abuse), and families shouldn't be torn apart because of it.

    Lastly, when you say, "I know they get their marching orders from the administration and are given the thankless task of trying to put as much spin on the effects as possible," to whom are you referring? Fox News, Laura Ingraham, The San Diego Union Tribune, or Sessions? For any answer besides Sessions, please provide evidence.

  2. The second part of the San Diego Tribune story was quoted for completeness to point to the distinction the paper itself made regarding the conditions of the facilities. By selectively referring to the first half of the paper's write up, Ms. Ingraham misstated the intent behind the paper's description, whether intentional or not. I have my suspicions.

    A tangent, but related - Your point raises another interesting concern I have regarding the condition of our public schools and child care facilities. In many ways, they are beginning to resemble the prisons we believed them to be while in them. I know this is ostensibly for the safety of the children, but we are teetering closer on that razor's edge separating security and liberty. Do the environments we are creating for childcare and education create a setting that can foster growth and learning, or will the be too stifling? The implementations you describe above all seem acceptable, but can conceivably be taken too far. Another consideration we look at is the effect on the educators involved. I have heard of what would essentially be body cams on teachers or some other fixed camera focused on the teacher in the room. While I understand the benefits for classroom security and the proposed implementation discussed (only to be worn at specific times, for further education on teaching techniques), it also raises the possibility of a teacher's entire day and action being nit-picked to death by administration. Positives and negatives both, but what teacher would want to teach under such scrutiny.

    Semantics is also a bit of an issue because an "infraction" in Texas is really a Class C Misdemeanor. Infractions, as termed, really aren't in the penal code. Everything from traffic citations to some DUIs to certain types of possession are misdemeanors. It's not exactly clear but Illegal entry seems to be about a Class B Misdemeanor as the penalties are a fine of at least $50 but not more than $250 (for just the illegal entry, not concealment) or imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both. Class B covers a wide variety of crimes from vandalism to running from an officer on foot to terroristic threats (just the threat itself), to minor drug possession to DWI as you have indicated (and on this, it could be the DWI alone with no injury to property). Either way, agreed, that illegal entry for asylum would seem to fall way down on the list of levels of offense and the punishment in this instance is not matching the crime.

    For the "marching orders" comment, I was referring to Fox News (and Laura Ingraham by extension). I, admittedly, was engaging in hyperbole, and of course have no direct proof of direct orders from the White House to Fox regarding content or coverage (though I would not be surprised to know that such exists and honestly do expect to hear of such in the future). The unfortunate circumstantial evidence regarding Trump's mirroring of Fox News statements (,,, preferential treatment among his staff for favorable news organizations ( and the overwhelming presence of the administration on Fox News ( do not paint a favorable picture regarding media influence. Although, its often hard to tell who is influencing who, Trump or Fox.

  3. Honestly, I don't even know who Laura Ingraham is. Perhaps she was intentionally misrepresenting the Tribune's story to further her political views. Maybe she was not alarmed by the remainder of the story because it's not really that far outside modern daycare facility norms. Also, the remainder of the Tribune story is not surprising since part of the facility's purpose is preventing the kids from escaping and running away.

    Also, the Tribune could have made mostly innocuous things seem more sinister because they don't want to be seen as giving the Trump administration a complete pass especially on a issue as horrible as this one. Or even more likely, maybe the reporter just doesn't have kids (or hasn't had kids in a while) and didn't realize the facility might not be that far outside of present societal norms.

    I agree with you that Laura Ingraham probably has the most incentive to misrepresent the story. She's a talking head, she's at least partially concerned with viewership ratings, and she knows her target audience. I don't put much faith in her considering, the Tribune story aside, she still made inflammatory and somewhat ridiculous comments about the issue in general (even if talking heads are wont to do that.)

    I would certainly understand why no one wants to teach/work/operate under that level of scrutiny (even the police). No one wants to be micromanaged. No one wants every little fault to be scrutinized because we are all human, and we all make mistakes.

    On another note, in secondary education I could actually see the cameras as protection for teachers either against false accusations or physical harm. It could also be used to identify and prevent bullying. Like most things there are good and nefarious uses for nearly everything.

  4. I thought you were engaging in hyperbole. Honestly, most of the articles that you listed indicated that Trump was parroting what he heard on Fox & Friends. Personally, I'm not surprised since I find it hard to believe that Trump has ever hard a truly held or original political thought in his life. However, this direction of influence is the opposite of what you originally inferred.

    I mainly bring up "the marching orders" comment to understand the purpose of your post. Is it to be a voice of reason or is it to rant? Believe me, I can understand the catharsis of a rant. It can be such a release just to get things out of your head sometimes. However, if you want to create reasonable conversation, unfounded hyperbole might be damaging to that goal especially since you insulted what is probably the prime news source for a decent portion of your target audience. While the whole Fox News bit is not logically essential to your post or argument, I'm sure it would turn some off to productive conversation.

    I also agree with you that the political bias of the political commentary of the Fox News Network is quite obvious. However, conservatives don't necessarily have great alternatives. There is mainstream research indicating that conservatives are severely underrepresented in the world of journalism (, and that journalist skew further left than society at large ( yes, this data is a bit old now). On top of that most of the news content creation happens in exceptionally liberal areas of the country (

    For the most part, I don't believe that there is active discrimination against conservatives in the media (at least not to the level that you hear many talking heads cry about). However, journalists can't completely escape the biases of their communities and internal culture. This will naturally lead to somewhat biased reporting. I read multiple news sources (all across the spectrum) and I find this quite obvious.

    Fox should get some recognition for servicing an underrepresented (aka conservative) viewership. However, they are blatantly biased in their commentary. There is not even really lip service to balance (besides their moto). They certainly need internal reform and culture shift. I understand why some on the left bash it. I'm just not sure that with the present political makeup of the majority of media, that the flaming is productive.

    To me, a more productive avenue is to encourage people to think for themselves and not rely on pundits to inform their opinions. They should take time to do some research of their own. Rather than flame low hanging fruit, you could encourage others to expand their news intake beyond one or two sources and read all across the spectrum (even if it's just to disagree with everyone else). No one could rightly expect to receive a passing grade on a research paper with just one source! No one can have a truly informed opinion without engaging alternative ideas. However, I'm sure that would be the subject for a different post entirely.

  5. I should have been more clear that this particular piece was a rant. Will be more deliberate in labeling at the top in the future. This particular bit just really got under my skin for the tone deafness of the piece.

    I have previous posts on Facebook that I will be updating and recycling regarding political bias and where to get the most straightforward news. I've seen and shared a couple of good infographics regarding this topic that deserve to be reposted frequently. My source now for most news is the BBC.

  6. To analyze news sources I generally use two different tools, AllSides Media Bias Ratings ( and Media Bias/Fact Check ( They don't always agree for instance MBFC has BBC as Left-Center and The Economist as center whereas AllSides BBC as center and The Economist as Left leaning (left-center). The thing I like about AllSides is that they often separate the editorial divisions from the news divisions. So AllSides rates Fox News as lean right and editorial as Far Right. MBFC doesn't make these distinctions and labels Fox as hard right. I have issues with both websites, but they are a good place to start.

    I've heard that BBC news is fairly centrist, but I haven't really used them that much. I tend to read CNN, NPR, USA Today, and yes Fox News almost every day. I try to avoid citing columnists too much. I try to go back to the sources that they cite. Also, when trying to engage others, I try to find the issue/study in a news source that is either centrist or leans the direction of my target audience. This is of course not always possible because not all media organizations will engage in the topic/story/study.

    I guess it doesn't matter as much because you've called it a rant, but here's where the news sources that you cited in your original post: Left Center
    Buzzfeed: Left Center
    Huffington Post: Left
    Jezebel: Hard Left

    1. Thanks, I'll incorporate those tools in the Media Bias blog, along with the infographic and explanation that I like to refer to.

      BBC is my go to for personal reliable news, most often filtered through the news hour on NPR. It helps that they are a bit removed from our internal angst in this country. I also prefer it in a format that is strictly a news hour - leaves little room for opinion. I don't mind a variety of sources, but have little use for Fox News outside of Shepherd Smith and Chris Wallace (in general, I have little use for 24-hour news networks altogether).

      When citing, my preference is to cite to institutions. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Daily Mail, the Associated Press, etc. In prepping blogs, though, especially timely blogs, I grab what I can to attribute a quote or fact listed in the blog. Sifting through bias level goes out the window. Particularly for rants.

      The blog is always going to run at least Center to Center Left in ideology, perhaps even hard left occasionally. My bias and my reaction to the environment I find myself in. I'm definitively entrenched in an ultra conservative location and have a news feed that is most often filled with Conservative information and mis-information. The naturally contrarian streak in me to raise the other side.

  7. If you can't tell, I have a naturally contrarian streak as well except that my environment is considerable different. I live/work in probably the most liberal city in Texas. Anecdotally, Hutto seems more liberal than your average suburb as well. My Facebook feed is dominating by liberal and sometimes even socialist talking points. I have two libertarians that occasionally post, and a couple of somewhat distance undereducated family members occasionally posting undereducated right wing stuff.

    The BBC seems like a reliable news source. I assume they've gained that reputation through carefully monitoring their biases. However, I find it difficult to believe that they are actually centrist. Despite the current populist movement, the UK's center is a decent bit left of center here. Therefor for the BBC to be centrist in their biases, they would have to be right or right of center in their own country. I don't watch any broadcast news except for a local morning news show for weather and traffic. I'd say 98% of my news comes from print/internet.

    So what news sources to recommend to your conservative friends? Is this the infographic you use?

    I've seen it before. I guess I find it somewhat helpful. Running through both Allsides and Mediabiasfactcheck. These are the well known centrist news sources that I found:

    Both Sites Agree
    USA Today

    According to MBFC
    The Economist (Left-Center by Allsides)

    According to Allsides
    BBC (Left Center according to MBFC)
    Bloomberg (Left Center according to MBFC)
    CNBC (Left Center according to MBFC)
    NPR –editorial leans left (Left Center according to MBFC)
    Wall Street Journal News –editorial skews right (Right Center according to MBFC)
    The Hill – (Left Center according to MBFC) (Not rated by MBFC)

    Most of the left leaning ratings are slight, but it seems that there is at least some evidence that centrist news actually means slightly left news. The only agreement for truly centrist news was the AP and USA Today. Considering that your audience is generally ultraconservative and likely to be somewhat skeptical of even slightly left leaning news sources, who would recommend?

    Scouring the sources reveals few well known news sources that are right-center. This is all I could really find:
    Washington Times
    The American Conservative
    Wall Street Journal News (maybe)

    Most of my friends on the left will generally not accept any news source that doesn't at least lean left and they scoff at USA Today for reason. I think they say they don't have enough investigative journalist or analysis. Generally less analysis means less obvious the bias, but whatever.

  8. Despite my contrarian nature, I rarely engage anyone regarding a political topic on Facebook anymore. Too many disagreements are really rooted in people's beliefs regarding the nature of government and the origin of human rights. Which stem from fundamental assumptions about the meaning of life, how we value other humans, and theology/religion/non-religion. However, it's been my experience that people don't really want to talk about their fundamental assumptions. And often when they do they don't make sense (at least to me). Those conversations seem to be nearly as fruitless as any other conversation about other political issues. Maybe that's partially why their is so much vitriol and name calling. If no one ever changes anybody else's mind, what's left to do but make fun of the opposition?

    I'm not saying that people should quit having conversations about beliefs and political issues. But I've been hyper political (I'm not really anymore) for nearly 20 years, and no matter the tactic (aggressive or conciliatory) almost no one ever changes their mind. I honestly can't remember a single instance of any party changing their minds.

    My views have changed a decent amount in that time, but I can't cite a conversation or news source as inspiration. It was almost totally internal (though of course my consciousness integrates all those thousands of articles and conversations.) Really, what I'm trying to say is that it is difficult to continue to have meaningful conversations when the results appear to be nil (for years). Maybe the goal of the conversation should just be to enjoy the argument.