Validating the Donald

Validating the Donald

by digby

In Salon today, I wrote about the right wing media's immigration backlash strategy by validating Donald Trump's nonsense:

[A]s much as the political establishment understands that this is a terrible strategy, they simply don’t have control of the base — or even of their own media, which is desperate to keep that base happy and attentive. Outlets like Fox News are always looking for a way to get off the defensive and give their audience something to use to counter-attack. And the use of the tragic murder of San Francisco resident Kate Steinle by an undocumented immigrant is a perfect example.

Nobody can deny the awfulness of the crime. An innocent young woman was randomly shot and killed while walking along a tourist area with her father; that's horrifying beyond words. But on Fox and elsewhere in the right-wing media, Steinle wasn’t a victim of the rampant gun violence endemic to this country (which they normally defend as a regrettable price to pay for freedom.) No, according to conservatives, Steinle was the victim of illegal immigration, because the man accused of shooting her had a long history of criminal behavior and previous deportations; and because the city of San Francisco is a so-called “sanctuary city,” meaning it does not allow its local police to assist federal immigration enforcement, except in certain limited circumstances. While such policies are anathema to immigration hawks, “Evidence suggests that these laws don’t just make cities safer for illegal immigrants; they make them safer for everyone,” as Mother Jones explains.

In a nutshell, Fox News and others are crassly using Steinle’s killing as vindication of Donald Trump, and by extension all those members of the base who applaud his nativist agenda.

Fox is especially cynical, using Steinle’s murder to create a parallel narrative to the discussion we’ve all been having about systemic racism. In their story (like Trump’s) the victims are the white people being gunned down by “illegal immigrants” in the streets. In the process they are bludgeoning liberals over what they see as an over-emphasis on race — which is a shallow show of opportunism which disrespects both Steinle and all other victims of gun violence.

Here, for example is the allegedly straight news reporter Megyn Kelly, via the Washington Post’s Eric Wemple:
Where is the swarm of agents in San Francisco? Then there was Freddie Gray in Baltimore, a repeat drug offender who was killed in police custody. Here again his funeral was attended by three Obama administration officials and again the President spoke personally to Freddie Gray’s death. And again, sent the DOJ in to investigate. When Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida, the President spoke to his death which was later ruled to be in self-defense. But Kate Steinle, nothing. No comments, no swarm of FBI agents, no DOJ investigation, nothing. Why?
This might make some sense if Donald Trump weren’t completely full of it. If there was an epidemic of criminal behavior from undocumented immigrants, perhaps you could make a case that it was commensurate with centuries of systemic racism and injustice, and demand that the president step up to comment. But it isn’t. Steinle’s murder was tragic. But while this sort of crime is painfully common in this country, undocumented immigrants commit very few of them. This post from Think Progress provides the relevant statistics

Read on ... they really are shameless.