Trump Said Immigrants Are Animals?
Trump said it. And everyone is aghast. Except, for any moderately fair-minded person reading the transcript of his remarks, he is clearly saying that deported members of the MS-13 gang are “animals.” Which, if you know anything about MS-13, is an entirely fair, even generous characterization.
So how can every news organization and civil rights organization create a typhoon of horror and outrage against an entirely reprehensible thing that didn’t happen, while themselves creating the impression that it did? The methodology is fascinating.
Take the word “animals,” which Trump did say.
Pretend the discussion preceding his statement isn’t clear, since he is speaking conversationally, in a give and take. Did he mean “members of M-13 who are deported” are animals, or “all people who commit crimes and are deported,” or simply “all immigrants who are legally vulnerable to deportation”?
When reading the full transcript, it’s obviously option one. But if you limit your gaze to just one sentence in the transcript and pretend to be from Mars, then you can claim that his meaning is ambiguous. When you then add to the mix your absolute certainty that Trump derives sadistic pleasure from inflicting pain on immigrants, all doubt dissipates. Did Trump say immigrants are animals? Of course he did! Here’s a direct quote that proves it!
Cue horrified outrage from people who truly believe themselves to be responding to something horrifying. In fact, what just happened was a kind of weird ventriloquism, conducted entirely in bad faith by the media, which used Trump as a meat puppet, in order to feed the bias of his detractors.
At least three of my friends, who are intelligent, well-informed, and fair-minded, were fully taken in by this dishonesty. Then they checked the transcript.
Maybe there was a little moment in time between, say, 1945 and 2008, when it made sense to assume that basic facts of what you read in major papers were true, or close to true. Maybe. That ratio certainly didn’t hold true in 1850, or 1750, or 1650. And it surely ain’t true today. We can’t take anything they are telling us for granted. Everything must be checked, double-checked, then checked again.