President Trump referred to dangerous MS-13 gang members as “animals” on Wednesday and anti-Trump media organizations conveniently took his comments out of context to make it appear that he was talking about illegal immigrants. And the liberal outlets don’t plan on clarifying anytime soon.
Trump was asked about the brutal gang by Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims when addressing California sanctuary city laws. Mims specifically said, “There could be an MS-13 gang member I know about, if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about them.”
The president responded, “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”
While Trump was clearly talking about MS-13, which is responsible for some of the grisliest murders in recent memory, several left-leaning news organizations decided to share the president’s response without key context. The dishonest news organizations continued to misrepresent Trump’s comments long after watchdogs called them out on social media for misinterpreting the remarks.
C-SPAN tweeted a video that did not show Mims’ comment, editing down the conversation with Trump’s answer and the caption: “President Trump during California #SanctuaryCities Roundtable: ‘These aren't people. These are animals.’” The misleading video has been viewed more than 2.6 million times in less than 24 hours.
The New York Times, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News and CNN all followed with similar misleading tweets – with most of the deceptive content coming after it was well publicized that Trump was specifically referring to MS-13 gang members.
The Times wrote, “Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting, calling those trying to breach the country’s borders ‘animals,’” while CBS News tweeted that Trump used “harsh rhetoric to describe some undocumented immigrants.”
At one point CNN’s on-screen chyron said, “Trump slams some illegal immigrants: ‘They’re Animals,’” while the network’s senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson mentioned that he was talking about MS-13, but the on-screen graphic never clarified what it meant by “some illegal immigrant.” Many CNN viewers are listening without audio while being force fed the network in airports, so misleading graphics arguably have more influence than rhetoric spoken on the channel.
CNN’s “Reliable Sources” media newsletter ignored the situation altogether.
The New York Times, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News and CNN did not respond when asked by Fox News if Trump’s comments would be clarified.
The Associated Press has corrected a similar error.
NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell tweeted that Trump called “people trying to get into the country ‘animals’ not people.” Several users responded, telling the media veteran that she was inaccurate, but she has not tweeted a correction or deleted the original message.
“That’s not what he said & not even remotely close to the context. The animals comment was in response to concerns about MS-13. Backing MS-13 over Trump isn’t the media narrative road I’d go down, but this is going to be another rake so have at it,” Fox News contributor Stephen Miller fired back.
Long after it was clear that Trump was talking about MS-13, news organizations continued to inaccurately use the quote to rile up the left.
The anti-Trump tabloid New York Daily News published on its front page: “Trump hurls hate at immigrants: ‘These aren’t people. These are animals.’”
CNBC’s John Harwood, who has close ties to longtime Clinton crony John Podesta, took things a step further and admitted that he sympathizes with the dangerous gang members.
“However repugnant their actions, MS-13 gang members are human beings IMHO,” Harwood tweeted.
NBC Universal did not respond when asked for comment on Harwood’s tweet.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stood by President Trump’s comments on Thursday, saying the term “animal” isn’t harsh enough to describe the dangerous gang members.
“The president was very clearly referring to MS-13 gang members who enter the country illegally and whose deportations are hamstrung by our laws,” Sanders said. “This is one of the most vicious and deadly gangs that operates by the motto of ‘rape, control and kill.’ If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they’re more than welcomed to. Frankly, I don’t think the term that the president used was strong enough.”
Trump defended the rhetoric himself during remarks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House shortly after Sanders’ briefing.
“I am referring to the MS-13 gangs coming in. I was talking about MS-13. If you look further in the tape, you'll see that. I'm surprised you're asking the question because most people got it right,” Trump said. “MS-13, they're animals, we're getting them out.”