Category: Wk 9: Media coverage of immigration

Dueling Coverage of the Migrant Caravan

This week we discussed how the media’s coverage of immigration could affect the consumer’s attitudes about immigration. The article I choose highlights the difference in coverage of the migrant caravan by MSNBC and Fox News, which are both very loud mainstream media partisan voices on the left and right of the political spectrum. Therefore, I don’t think it’s necessarily shocking the way each framed the caravan and the tone of their coverage—MSNBC utilized words like asylum and emphasized the women and children in the caravan while FoxNews labeled it as an invasion that’s going to bring in criminal activity. One thing I found interesting was the frequency of the reporting on the caravan, particularly by FoxNews before the midterm elections. MSNBC coverage wasn’t so focused in on the caravan as it was on how Republicans were benefiting from it until the tear-gas incident at the border. I think the human-interest aspect of the caravan and timing of it drove media coverage, what other factors do you think could have been driving media coverage of the caravan, and more broadly, what factors do you think drive media coverage of immigration?

I also added a FoxNews video that I came across because as expected it promotes this narrative that the caravan is full of mob members that are trying to invade the country. Interesting enough they attempt to show the other face of immigration by interviewing a legal immigrant from Hungary and then, highlighting that an illegal immigrant murdered her son. In the video, they don’t mention where the illegal immigrant was from, but they casually say that he was a gang member and fled to Mexico. I think this is an example of group association, as they’re trying to categorize illegal immigrants as Latinos, more specifically as Mexicans that are coming here to commit crimes and without a legitimate reason to seek asylum.





Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think that the pre-existing views of FoxNews and MSNBC audiences drive their coverage of immigration-related events or does their media coverage influence the views of their audience?
  2. In  Abrajano et. al, they discuss how generational status influences Latinos’ immigration attitude, do you think that immigrating legally or illegally affects views on immigration as well?



Dramatizing the Truth for the Sake of the Cause

The article “She Became a Face of Family Separation at the Border. But She’s Still With Her Mother” references the well-known photo of the Honduran toddler crying at the border as her mother was being patted down. The article explains that the child was not actually separated from her mother, and that the two were taken away by border security together. Several sources, however, said that the girl was carried away screaming. This article is a good representation of how the media can have an influence over the perception of immigration. The TIME’s story was not accurate, but it had an impact. People are not used to seeing immigrants represented in this type of way, especially not as crying children at the border. The article says that this photo caused a surge in donations towards immigrants at the border and mobilization against family separation, specifically because this photo was spread so quickly through social media.

Discussion Question: Even though photos like this have a more positive impact on immigration rights/immigration views, do news sources still have a responsibility to not dramatize the truth for the sake of the cause?

Politicized places

[Watch clip]

This video shows a Fox news reporter interviewing people in a cafe in Missouri about the immigration problem in the U.S. and other issues salient to them. One of the men speak about how the immigration problem at the border is clear to him and those living there because they see it all the time whereas at a national level people think it is more abstract / not as real. This seems to connect to Hopkins’ concept of politicized places as the national discussion of immigration as an issue has connected to this man’s experience and made it more salient. You can see below the chevron of the newscast that this is part of Fox’s discussion of the 2020 election and ‘the issues’ that matter in relation to it.

Discussion questions:

  • Using the language of agenda-setting, framing, and priming, how does the media impact the political decision-making of U.S. voters? You can use this clip as an example to apply the framework to.
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