Some left-leaning outlets seemed to display a sympathetic bent toward California-based drug- and human-trafficking gangs, including the notorious MS-13, in their reporting of President Donald Trump's ongoing war against gangs, according to Fox News.
On Friday, Trump gave a speech to law enforcement officers at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, during which he expressed his appreciation for law enforcement officers both local and federal. He vowed to destroy MS-13 and said its members are "animals."
"[MS-13 has] transformed peaceful parks and beautiful quiet neighborhoods into blood-stained killing fields. They’re animals. We cannot tolerate as a society the spilling of innocent, young, wonderful vibrant people," Trump said.
According to Fox News' "bias watch," a number of outlets followed Trump's speech with stories and angles that either made MS-13 seem not as bad as previously reported or made Trump and his policies seem villainous.
CNN released a report Friday, "MS-13 members: Trump makes the gang stronger," that gave credence to the claims that Trump's tackling of illegal immigration was actually strengthening MS-13 by silencing immigrants from reporting crimes for fear of being deported. While the report did not display MS-13 kindly, the network attacked Trump's stance on illegal immigration, saying it made gang crime stronger.
CNN interviewed Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator with immigration advocacy group Make the Road, who said the fear of deportation is allowing MS-13 to commit crimes with impunity.
"I think it's emboldening them, because this gives them the opportunity to tell immigrants, 'What are you gonna do? Are you going to report us? They're deporting other innocent people ... (so) they're going to associate you with us by you coming forward,'" Barrientos said.
However, Trump administration officials learned during Attorney General Jeff Sessions' trip to El Salvador that MS-13 primarily recruits from illegal immigrants. Trump requested 10,000 additional ICE agents, and the passage of legislation such as "Kate's Law" to make illegal immigration more consequential to repeated immigration offenders.
According to Fox News, Vox also released an article on Friday that twisted Trump's words about MS-13 to encompass all illegal immigrants, saying his statements and policies embolden white supremacists to commit violence against immigrants:
Trump’s rhetoric isn’t dangerous because it’s likely to become federal policy. There’s not going to be a directive ordering federal law enforcement officers to slam suspects’ heads into car doors during arrests. (Trump remains impressively insulated from the reality of policymaking. On Friday, he described MS-13’s presence in Long Island as “a new phenomenon”; the George W. Bush administration was conducting ICE gang sweeps on the island a decade ago.)
It’s dangerous because, at best, it successfully communicates to law enforcement agents that their moral superiority to the “animals” they apprehend justifies or even mandates violence. At worst, it communicates that message more broadly to the most fervent of the white supremacists who number among the president’s supporters.
Fox News also highlighted a Slate article from Thursday, which stated that Trump referred to "unauthorized immigrants in harsh, disparaging terms." Slate accused Trump of saying that illegal immigrants like to "slice and dice" people with knives, not mentioning that Trump was referring to illegal immigrant gang members.
The Slate article went on to claim that Trump's rhetoric was designed to "make white people afraid."
Mischaracterizations from leftist media sources aside, Trump's rhetoric against illegal immigration has coincided with a drop in the number of people attempting to illegally cross the border.
On July 18, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told C-SPAN that illegal immigration has seen a "miraculous" 53 percent drop from last year.