Several media outlets issued retractions after they falsely attributed a shocking Obama-era migrant child detention statistic to Donald Trump.
It all started on Monday, when Manfred Nowak, an expert from the U.N. Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, alleged that 100,000 migrant children had been detained under the Trump administration. Fox News reported that Nowak even went so far as to say that it was the “world’s highest rate” of detained children.
Many media outlets immediately took this story and ran with it. It wasn’t until the next day that it was revealed that this statistic actually came from 2015, when Barack Obama was still president. Last week, a different report from The Associated Press and the PBS program “Frontline” found 69,550 migrant children have been held in U.S. government custody in the last year.
Objective reporting for the educated American.
Once the media outlets who reported on Nowak’s initial claim realized their mistake, they scrambled to delete their stories that blamed the statistic on Trump.
“A Nov. 18 story headlined ‘U.S. has world’s highest rate of children in detention -U.N. study’ is withdrawn,” Reuters stated. “The United Nations issued a statement on Nov. 19 saying the number was not current but was for the year 2015. No replacement story will be issued.”
“We have temporarily withdrawn this story because the study’s author has acknowledged a significant error in the data. We will post a revised article with more complete information as soon as possible,” National Public Radio wrote.
“The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about a claim about the number of children being held in migration-related detention in the United States,” The Associated Press stated. “The story quoted an independent expert working with the U.N. human rights office saying that over 100,000 children are currently being held. But that figure refers to the total number of U.S. child detentions for the year 2015, according to the U.N. refugee agency.”
AFP is withdrawing this story.
The author of the report has clarified that his figures do not represent the number of children currently in migration-related US detention, but the total number of children in migration-related US detention in 2015.
We will delete the story. https://t.co/p30UjEWl7u
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 19, 2019
Before the stories were retracted, many top Democrats pounced on them and were quick to erroneously blame Trump for detaining 100,000 migrant children.
2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sent out a multiple choice question on Twitter, writing, “What country has the world’s highest rate of child detention,” which had Botswana, Sri Lanka, and Mexico as alternative options.
“Under Trump, America leads the world in locking up little kids- including 100,000 children at the border. This is immoral,” Sanders added in the since-deleted tweet.
The DNC War Room got in on the action as well, tweeting, “This is a disgusting result of Trump’s family separation policies- pushed by Stephen Miller who has cited white nationalist propaganda in promoting his views. It’s also, apparently, a violation of a U.N. treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Incredible. DNC War Room just deleted this tweet.
Apparently they didn’t want to attribute Obama-era child detention rates to white nationalism.
That’s what we would call a self-own. pic.twitter.com/oKnMgsIHTV
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) November 20, 2019
Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter to slam the media for how this situation has been handled.
“I guess they’ll only withdraw true stories that make Obama look bad rather than leaving up the truth for everyone to see?” he wrote. “This is why no one trusts the media.”
I guess they’ll only withdraw true stories that make Obama look bad rather than leaving up the truth for everyone to see?
This is why no one trusts the media. https://t.co/5wnhJfIeFn
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 20, 2019