In blunt contrast to the warm reception thousands of migrants received as they made the arduous journey through Central America to Mexico – getting food donations and well wishes from locals – the nearly 3,000 people who reached the Mexican border with California in recent days have been met with marked hostility.
The majority of migrants, who have been on foot for more than a month, are sleeping on a dirt baseball field at an outdoor sports complex in Tijuana by the newly-fortified barbed wire fence that separates Mexico from the United States. A truck parked on the street is providing showers for women, while the men are told to use newly established outdoor showers near the field.
Reports of insults being shouted, rocks being hurled and even physical fist-fighting has escalated over the weekend.
The reception has left many in limbo – afraid to return to their homeland, which for the vast majority is Honduras, yet unwelcome in Mexico and uncertain if their U.S. asylum requests will be granted. The U.S is said to be processing around 100 claims per day.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has referred to the arrivals as “bums” and questioned whether a referendum in the city of 1.6 million is needed to determine whether or not they should be allowed to stay.
“Human rights should be reserved for righteous humans,” Gastelum lamented last week.
The Mexican Interior Ministry announced Friday that just under 2,700 Central American migrants have applied for asylum in Mexico under a program that was launched late last month that pledged to provide them with work and living permissions faster.
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Yet officials anticipate that the migrant caravan will soon swell in excess of 10,000 – and will need to be housed for more than six months – which the Mexican government claims it lacks the resources to do.
Alden Rivera, the Honduran ambassador in Mexico, told reporters during a visit to the sports complex on Saturday that he is working with local officials to secure additional funds.
“These are our people, we want to do what we can for them,” he said. “In Honduras, we respect human rights.”
Yet his visit also drew visceral responses from many who blame the U.S.-backed Honduran government for their own dire financial and security situation – which prompted them to make the journey in the first place.
Despite a lull in covering the issue post-midterms, President Trump again expressed his grievances at the new arrivals in a tweet on Friday.
“Isn’t it ironic that large caravans of people are marching to our border wanting U.S.A. asylum because they are fearful of being in their country – yet they are proudly waving their country’s flag,” he wrote. “Can this be possible? Yes, because it is all a BIG CON, and the American taxpayer is paying for it.”
In anticipation of the caravan reaching the U.S. periphery, authorities put in place new coils of razor wire and Border Patrol officers are manning in full-force, stretching down through the beach strip of Border Field State Park alongside Tijuana’s famed Playas de Tijuana.
And while many locals have expressed anger and frustration at the new arrivals, scores of others have shown their support and sympathy. Church groups and other Tijuana locals are donating food and clothes to the new arrivals, and remain on standby as hundreds more pour into the already crowded facility by the day.
It’s almost Thanksgiving, so we could give thanks that the election of more than a week ago is mostly over. Or perhaps we could thank the media that things are back to their new normal – journalists attacking President Trump around the clock.
This week was a cornucopia of crazy. There was an MSNBC regular warning that Trump might stage a military coup if he loses the 2020 election. Then there were allegations that the president, who has several Jewish family members, is somehow anti-Semitic.
Washington Post readers were also told that black women covering the president should “expect peak nasty,” although President Trump has been an equal opportunity basher of the liberal press.
Politico reported a former Trump aide said the White House was ‘like an episode of ‘Maury.’” “The only thing that’s missing is a paternity test,” went the comment, which was mis-attributed on CNN.
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The New York Times even asked if the press should “Boycott Trump.” Ever fair, the paper interviewed Democrats who hate Trump and Republicans who mostly hate Trump.
That list included “former Republican presidential strategist” Steve Schmidt, who despises Republicans so much he’s called them “kook,” “nut ball,” “crook” and “weirdo” just this year. That’s how the Times serves neutrality.
MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch was the one cooking up Trump conspiracies about 2020. Deutsch’s bizarre forecast for the future, in the “sad event” the president does run again, is that Trump could toss out the Constitution is he loses the 2020 presidential election.
“He (Trump) would be a president going, ‘I’m not leaving. I’m not leaving. Call the military.’ We have to look at this man. He really would do that,” Deutsch told the “Morning Joe” audience.
News organizations filled their sites with overdone hate. “Trump Is Worse Than Nixon,” went one New York Times op-ed.
“Conservative” Washington Post columnist Max Boot blasted Trump, saying, “America will need years to clean up the toxins Trump has released.”
The GOP was accused of “dancing with autocracy” (Trump) in another Post op-ed.
Hollywood served up some turkeys of its own. Sometime-comedian Sarah Silverman called Trump a “douche bag” and made a Nazi reference to her being “very lucky that I get a star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and didn’t “have to sew it on my clothes.”
Even actor Robert De Niro reheated a version of one of his favorite lines to bash the president. De Niro used the Tony Awards stage in June to get the audience excited to hate when he said:
“I’m going to say one thing, f— Trump!”
This time the venue was the Friars Club, and the actor was complaining about the “jerkoff in the White House.” “Down with this motherf—er!” he declared, according to Variety.
There were special words for those who chose not to participate in the hateful anti-Trump holiday. ABC’s “The View” co-host Joy Behar attacked the Country Music Awards because the program didn’t blast Trump. “My personal belief is that we are in an emergency. The democracy is at risk, and everybody should be speaking up, everybody,” she told viewers.
Inexplicably, Behar claimed she would make “10 times more money than I earn” for staying neutral. She didn’t say what outlet would pay this fantasy money. She currently is in the midst of a three-year “lucrative” deal, according to The New York Post’s Page Six.
2. Democrats Win, Media Thrilled: Sometimes the perfect metaphor presents itself. CNN provided the ideal one for the media celebration of Election 2018. The network featured a bizarre Dana Bash segment about “the original Badass Woman of Washington.” None other than return of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
The network posted a clip of the segment that begins with Pelosi walking in slow motion, like “Wonder Woman.” Just in case you thought Bash might be neutral, here’s how she led off. “Nancy Pelosi certain knows her power more than any other woman I’ve ever covered in politics. And I’ve always wondered how.”
I bet CNN execs think this was an apple, not a banana.
MSNBC was also singing Pelosi’s praises. “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough called her ‘like one of the most competent Speakers of the House” and compared getting rid of her to getting rid of a World Series star.
The news channel got even stranger. MSNBC political analyst Zerlina Maxwell continued a recent liberal theme of complaining about how elections are run in the U.S. She followed the lead of former first lady Michelle Obama and criticized how the Electoral College had chosen Trump in 2016 and that “in and of itself is misogynistic and sexist.”
Over at NBC, it was “wow” time. White House Correspondent Kristen Welker used the term “wow” twice in her report. Of course, this was easy to do after the media downplayed new Arizona Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema’s liberal record and her history of bashing the state she just ran in.
Sinema’s win was one of the last races called, but the tallies continued elsewhere. The New York Times whined that the GOP was trying “to Discredit (the) Recount.” The paper called that “a cold political calculation: Treat the recount as the next phase of a campaign to secure the party’s majority and agenda in the Senate.”
The article went on to blame the GOP entirely for questioning the tally. It also quoted “Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000” complaining about the “obvious racial undertones in the Republican attacks on the recount process.” The article failed to note how Brazile herself isn’t even sorry for trying to fix one of the 2016 presidential debates.
3. Suddenly Avenatti Isn’t Big News: Remember when anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti was big news? It should be hard to forget. He was the legal brains behind porn star Stormy Daniels and her lawsuit against President Trump.
The media adored him. By mid-June he had already done 82 CNN interviews as part of his then-173 appearances. Joy Behar on “The View” called him “the only person Donald Trump fears more than Robert Mueller.” CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter treated him as someone he was taking “seriously as a contender” for the 2020 presidential nomination. That was just in September.
Then the Senate hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court happened and Avenatti was widely credited with hurting the Democrat attack. After that, the media gave him the cold shoulder and downplayed all of the negative news – such as when Daniels’ defamation suit was tossed out or possible investigation into the Kavanaugh accuser Avenatti represented.
That meant it was only logical for journalists to limit how much they were willing to report on domestic violence accusations that led to Avenatti’s arrest Wednesday. Two key morning shows – CNN’s “New Day” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” – spent just 67 seconds of their six hours Thursday to cover the arrest. That’s 0.3 percent of the time they had.
The restaurant chain Chipotle announced Saturday that it had terminated one of its managers for suggesting in a viral video that five black customers were planning to order food without paying — but on Sunday, the company acknowledged to Fox News that it was considering re-hiring the manager because her suspicions may have been well-founded.
In a series of video clips seen more than 3 million times on Twitter, a Chipotle customer in St. Paul, Minn., identifed as 21-year-old Masud Ali, and several friends are told by a manager: “You gotta pay, because you’ve never had money when you come in here.” An employee adds, “We’re not gonna make food unless you guys actually have money.”
As Ali and his friends complain about “stereotypes,” the videos show employees at the store claiming that the group had previously ordered food on two occasions without paying. The store manager also calls the police in the videos, which were recorded and uploaded by Ali.
In one video clip, the manager smiles and tries to ignore the men while they produce what appears to be cash, as proof that they can pay for their food. One of the employees visible in the kitchen is black.
“It sounded really racist — the way she said it was racist,” Ali told Minnesota’s Star Tribune newspaper on Friday. “She asked for proof of income as if I’m getting a loan.” On Twitter, Ali asked Chipotle: “Can a group of young well-established African-American get a bite to eat after a long workout session?”
Ali also posted the restaurant’s phone number and address to social media. Within hours and under a deluge of criticism, Chipotle issued a statement implying that the manager had acted out of bias and announcing her termination.
But on Sunday, as tweets emerged showing that Ali had apparently made a habit of stealing from restaurants, Chipotle walked back its decision.
“Our actions were based on the facts known to us immediately after the incident, including video footage, social media posts and conversations with the customer, manager, and our employees,” Chipotle Chief Communications Officer Laurie Schalow told Fox News on Sunday. “We now have additional information which needs to be investigated further. We want to do the right thing, so after further investigation we will re-train and re-hire if the facts warrant it.”
Despite reports on Twitter late Sunday that the manager had received her job back, Chipotle confirmed to Fox News that “nothing has changed from this morning. We are still investigating a few things.”
In a previous statement on Saturday, the company had said: “We are committed to treating all of our customers fairly and with respect. … Regarding what happened at the St. Paul restaurant, the manager thought these gentlemen were the same customers from Tuesday night who weren’t able to pay for their meal. Regardless, this is not how we treat our customers and as a result, the manager has been terminated and the restaurant is being re-trained to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
In subsequent interviews, though, Chipotle representatives admitted that the manager might have been right in claiming that individuals in the group had ordered food just days before without paying once their order was completed. (As a matter of policy, Chipotle only provides food to customers upon payment, but store employees finish making orders before payment is requested at the register.)
“We are not able to confirm that with 100 percent certainty,” Schalow acknowledged in a statement to The Twin Cities Pioneer Press. “We asked Masud if he was in our restaurant on Tuesday and he said no.”
And almost immediately, it emerged that Ali had apparently spoken favorably of “dining and dashing” — the practice of ordering food and not paying for it — several times on Twitter in the past.
“aye man i think chopotle catchin up to us fam. should we change locations and yoooooo what should we do about the other thang,” read a since-deleted post on Ali’s account from 2016.
As those tweets surfaced over the weekend, Chipotle’s media representatives, including Schalow, initially said that they had seen the tweets and would stand by their decision to fire the manager — seemingly contradicting Schalow’s statement to Fox News on Sunday.
According to author Matt Palumbo, Schalow had previously claimed that the store’s manager was justifiably terminated because she broke protocol by requiring payment before making the customers’ food, regardless of her suspicions about the customers’ intention to pay.
Palumbo called Schalow’s suggestion that Chipotle had not been aware of Ali’s tweets an “absolute lie.”
“The correct action to take would have been to make their food and not hand it over to them until they paid for it,” Schalow had asserted as part of her justification for firing the manager, according to Palumbo.