Networks decide to air Trump begging for border wall money, immediately forced to fact check lies
According to the Huffington Post, all major networks agreed to a White House request to broadcast Donald Trump’s address trying to force congress to give him money a the southern border wall as the government shutdown continues. To do so, networks had to give up a prime-time slot, and all the commercial revenue that comes with it, which is why they usually reserve such a time slot for events of national or international importance, such as the announcement by President Barack Obama of the death of Osama bin Laden. Predictably, the Trump address was filled with so many lies even Fox News could not stand idly by and issued a fact-check immediately after it had concluded.
Shepard Smith, a Fox News anchor, immediately questioned Trump’s portrayal of immigrants as violent drug mules by countering with easily available federal data which shows violent crime is not more common among the immigrant population than it is among American citizens. Instead of immigrants bringing drugs with them when they cross, most drugs are trafficked through ports of call.
When Trump began his push for a wall in 2015, border crossings were statistically at their lowest level since 1970, and the undocumented or unauthorized population in America has remained largely stagnant for over ten years. As Trump’s government shutdown continues, many government employees are working without pay or not working at all, which is affecting various travel safety issues that could ironically pose more threats to national security. Still, the president continues to trot out the same tired and disproven arguments and fear-mongering about Latinx gang members.
As NPR notes in its own fact check of Trump’s many lies in his address, most of the migrants that cross at the border are seeking asylum from the violence and poverty which has overtaken their home countries. Democrat Chuck Schumer, the minority leader in the Senate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for equal time on networks for Democrats to rebut Trump’s claims, issuing a statement that read, “Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime.”
Notably, the networks have denied other requests from the White House, such as a request by the Obama Administration in 2014 for them to air a live address on immigration reforms. in that case, the networks aired it on a tape delay, which meant that they didn’t lose any advertising money.