A new study conducted by Media Matters for America shows that right-wing sources have dominated social media coverage on Facebook and Youtube on viral caravan since its beginning in early October.
According to the study, Fox News had the most top-engaged Facebook links and page posts and right-wing YouTube channels had the most caravan-related coverage videos with over 100,000 views. In the first two weeks, Fox News dedicated over 23 hours to caravan coverage beginning on October 13, when the caravan set off.
The result of this: fake news. The coverage seen from these alt-right sources does nothing but spread anti-immigrant misinformation and ridiculous conspiracy theories. Many of these outlets are referring to the caravan as a “national crisis” and as an “invasion” and an “act or war.”
The result of using this kind of rhetoric to gain media hits is a rise in nationalistic “defense against the caravan” sentiments. A tactic that is all to familiar, if not exact, to our current administration’s anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric which has set to create a hate-fueled division against the immigrant communities in our nation.
This coverage is characterizing the people traveling in this caravan as invaders, and not the asylum and refugee that they truly are. Now, as these migrants begin to arrive at our borders, they are being met with military force, as would be a true invasion, as we saw this past Sunday when tear gas was thrown at them from this side of the border into Mexico.
The new report references a post made on Glenn Beck’s personal site and his outlet “The Blaze” where he shared an article titled “This is not a caravan, it’s an INVASION.” In the post Beck wrote that the caravan was a “political stunt” being used to provoke violence from the National Guard and Border Patrol agents. The post received more than 50,000 interactions on Facebook, according to the study. This is the same justification Trump gave to agents throwing gas at the migrants across the border.
Ask yourself this, what would Glenn Beck know about being a central american migrant seek asylum or refuge in another country, forced by the violence and poverty that consumes their homeland?
As we navigate through our social media feeds during this troubling time at our southern borders be very mindful of the content you are retaining and where it is coming from. It seems everyone has something to say about the devastating situation that thousand of migrants are facing at the border, but turn away from the first hand stories from those actually living it.