Amid the nationwide outcry over the Trump administration’s contentious family separation policy at the Mexico border, one of the most highly trafficked conservative news outlets depicted the issue with a group of young boys brandishing handguns.
The Drudge Report’s this week’s lead story was headlined “BORDER BATTLE: USA TAKING IN 250 KIDS PER DAY.” The accompanying image apparently depicted Latin American kids as violent criminals— the implication being some of the children the administration is putting in detention centers are potential gangsters.
However, there was just one problem — the photo was of Syrian boys holding toy guns in 2012 during the Battle of Azaz.
But the founder and editor of the conservative news website, Matt Drudge, apparently, didn’t bother to cross-check the source as long as it reinforced his defense of the notorious policy.
Fortunately, Brian Tashman, a researcher at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pointed out the mishap on Twitter.
Matt Drudge is using a photo of children from *Azaz, Syria holding toy guns* to depict kids fleeing Latin America as violent gangsters.— Brian Tashman (@briantashman) June 18, 2018
Original photo here: https://t.co/rCDI9ycmHapic.twitter.com/Fw231u9LR7
The Drudge Report usually takes cue for its content from different sources and puts a conservative, often misleading, spin on it.
In this case, the Drudge referred to a Washington Examiner story in which it talked about the possibility of the Trump administration “holding 30,000 illegal immigrant children by the end of August as a result of its push to enforce federal immigration laws”
Predictably, there was no mention of Syria in the story.
Nonetheless, the report used a 2012 photo taken by Christiaan Triebert. The photographer also took notice of the matter and said how Drudge’s use of the photo is “an obscene misrepresentation of what the photo actually depicts.”
Triebert also pointed out how the report violated the licensing terms by not giving any him any credit for the image and condemned Drudge’s possible commercial use of the photo.
It is important to mention, it was just three weeks ago President Donald Trump sang praises for Drudge in an impromptu Fox & Friends interview.
“Drudge is great by the way,” said Trump. “Matt Drudge is a great gentleman, he really has ability to capture stories that people want to see.”
Drudge, who is reportedly a frequent visitor to the White House, might be a private person but he has supported the commander-in-chief since the infancy of his candidacy.
In fact, back in 2016, Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein said “a large measure of why Donald Trump is the nominee goes to Matt Drudge."
This time was no different for Drudge who apparently didn’t think twice before putting up a very misleading photo as long as it was consistent with Trump’s penchant of smearing immigrants as violent dangerous criminals.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS / Patrick T. Fallon