Clowns gather for a group picture during the sixth annual Latin American Clown Congress in Guatemala City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Clowns from Central America and North America have gathered for four days in the capital city to exchange ideas and attend workshops. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Media Malpractice in the Coverage of Donald Trump’s Immigration Executive Order

Throughout the weekend, major journalists have called Donald Trump’s executive order a “ban on Muslims” when it objectively is not. It is little different, in fact, from what Barack Obama did in 2011 when he halted immigration from Iraq pending a review of the approval process.

Likewise, with 52 countries having an Islamic population of 50% or higher, and this ban only affecting seven of those countries, this cannot be called a Muslim ban. What this plan is, is a remarkable scaling back of Donald Trump’s campaign promise. In fact, had Trump talked about this plan on the campaign trail, I suspect the coverage would not be so overblown. But the media is committing malpractice by equating what Trump has implemented to his Muslim ban.

And that gets to the heart of the matter. There are serious problems with Trump’s immigration order that the media is not focusing on and should focus on that they are ignoring while misrepresenting what the order does.

  • The order was put in place without consultation from major departments including State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.
  • The White House staff did not allow review or editing from agencies before authorization.
  • The staff level, without consulting Secretary Kelly, rejected a provision on green card holders that caused further complications.
  • The executive order was not drafted clearly and concisely. It was objectively a muddled mess.
  • The guidance from the White House to enforce the order was virtually non-existent.
  • The White House failed to brief anyone, including Congress, on the executive order before it was released and announced the intentions of the executive order before the text was widely circulated. This caused all sorts of confusion.

The list goes on. But the media so focused on the “Muslim ban” aspect of the order that even Trump skeptics from the right have been defending him against an untruth. Everyone is ignoring that this executive order has lots of flaws that are real.

If the media intends to drive up the Trump-related hysteria to 11 on a ten point scale for the next four years, they are going to miss lots of real stories and cause lots of people to tune out.

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Erick Erickson

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