Major media retract stories on migrant kids detained in U.S. under Obama

by WorldTribune Staff, November 20, 2019

When several major media outlets received information that some 100,000 immigrant children were being detained by the United States, they quickly jumped on the opportunity to again slam President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Then, they found out the kids were detained under President Barack Obama.

Many on the Left have used this photo to criticize President Donald Trump for detaining immigrant ‘kids in cages’. The photo is from 2014, during the Obama administration. / YouTube

The retractions soon followed. Suddenly, a report on the U.S. detaining 100,000 immigrant children was not newsworthy.

The report initiated from the United Nations, which said on Nov. 18 that the U.S. currently has the world’s highest rate of detained children.

Several major media outlets ran with it, stating there are currently more than 100,000 children in immigration-related custody, which the outlets reported was a violation of international law.

The UN report’s author is Manfred Nowak, a human rights lawyer. The figures he cited on U.S. detention of children were from 2015, during the Obama administration. That was left out of the original story.

A day after reporting that the Trump administration was holding 100,000 immigrant kids, Reuters and AFP deleted their stories after the UN clarified the numbers were from 2015.

“AFP did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why it no longer felt the numbers were newsworthy after being informed they were from 2015,” The Daily Caller noted.

A Reuters spokesperson told the Daily Caller that “Reuters decided to withdraw its story after the United Nations issued a statement on Nov. 19 saying the number of children in detention was not current but was for the year 2015.”

The page where the article was featured has a retraction on Reuters. The outlet declined to comment on why the story was no longer deemed newsworthy.

“A Nov. 18 story headlined ‘U.S. has world’s highest rate of children in detention -U.N. study’ is withdrawn. 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,” the Reuters page reads.

AFP also retracted its entire story, tweeting Tuesday that the author of the report clarified the numbers.

NPR retracted its entire story at 6:53 p.m. Eastern time, issuing a notice that it would be posting another story with “more complete information.”

“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,” NPR’s page reads.

Aljazeera updated its article, which is now headlined “UN expert corrects claims on children in U.S. migration.” The article notes that the data is from the Obama administration, but a large portion of it is still dedicated to scrutinizing illegal immigration under Trump, the Daily Caller noted.

The Associated Press also deleted its article, but wrote a substitute story where it highlighted the figure that was incorrectly cited by Nowak.

“But on Tuesday, he [Nowak] told The AP that figure was drawn from a UN refugee agency report citing data from 2015, the latest figure his team could find,” the new AP article reads. “That was before U.S. President Donald Trump, whose policies on migration have drawn criticism, was elected.”


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