Media Matters for America

A June 20 caption from Media Matters for America criticizing Fox News over its commentary about African migration into the United States

As more people from the African continent leave to seek opportunities elsewhere, the route to a better life outside of the continent is taking many not just through North Africa and the Mediterranean which leads into Europe, but also through countries in South America in the attempt to get to the United States.

On June 16 the Associated Press (AP) ran a story which pointed to a new challenge the U.S. is facing following what the AP described as a record number of migrants from the continent reaching the U.S.-Mexico border.

The AP story was picked up by other media, including the Aurora Sentinel in Colorado, as well as the PBS News Hour.

AP writers Andrew Selsky and Patrick Whittle say “Officials in Texas and even Maine are scrambling to absorb the sharp increase in African migrants. They are coming to America after flying across the Atlantic Ocean to South America and then embarking on an often harrowing overland journey.”

The writers continue by pointing to the specific African countries where many of the migrants are coming from, most of them from countries in West and Southern Africa, including Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. For the Cameroonians involved the AP story referenced the Anglophone crisis, which the government there has been unable to resolve, as a reason why many are fleeing the country.

“Cameroonians generally fly to Ecuador because no visa is required and take about four months to reach Tijuana. They walk for days in Panama through dense jungle, where they are often robbed and held in government-run camps. They come from Cameroon’s English-speaking south with horrifying stories of rape, murder and torture committed since late 2016 by soldiers of the country’s French-speaking majority, which holds power.”

On June 23 Quartz Africa published a story which stated that many more migrants from the continent continued to try to get to the U.S. via the U.S.-Mexico border. Writer Lekan Oguntoyinbo lays out the route which the migrants take on their way to the United States. He says “A great many of the migrants follow a similar route: they fly to Ecuador or Rio in Brazil before embarking by bus and by foot on the final leg of a trip that takes them through the jungles of Colombia, several Central American countries and into Mexico, a process that could take weeks, months or even years and is often fraught with danger. Some cross the Rio Grande River near Del Rio, Texas.”

While the migration story occupied much of print media around the world, conservative online media in the U.S., including Fox News, had a different take on the issue.

While the AP was analytical in its style, providing perspective on the reasons why the migrants left their homeland, Fox News host Tucker Carlson was concerned that so many migrants from the African continent were making the attempt to enter the United States. Carlson’s concern is that these African migrants will forever change the face of America. Many of the hosts at Fox have often characterized the movement of migrants through Mexico into the U.S. as an invasion of America. 

Media Matters for America, a progressive, left-leaning non-profit organization, often critical of what it sees as lies, falsehoods, and propaganda from the cable TV giant, shot back at Fox News and especially host Carlson, with a blistering response. Writer Matt Gertz says “Fox News hosts and guests have repeatedly warned the network’s audience in recent weeks that Congolese refugees crossing the U.S.-Mexico border may be carrying Ebola, despite statements to the contrary from health officials.”

Gertz added, “But Fox is deeply committed to terrifying its audience about the physical threat to their safety that undocumented immigrants supposedly bring. And so over the last few weeks, the network’s personalities — particularly virulently anti-immigrant prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — have repeatedly brought up the possibility of Ebola infection in discussing the migrants.”

A  top-rated host who makes millions each year, Tucker Carlson is known to Americans and people around the world for his tough stance on immigration issues.