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White House calls misleading story about Border Patrol agents using whips on Haitian migrants 'horrible to watch'

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Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images

Outrage erupted over video purporting to show Border Patrol agents using whips on migrants in Del Rio, Texas, but many pointed out that the media was incorrectly reporting on the use of their reins.

The images captured by freelance photographer Paul Ratje near the migrant encampment quickly went viral online as many assumed the agents were using whips to dissuade migrants.

During Monday's White House media briefing, a reporter asked press secretary Jen Psaki to comment on the video of the border agents "using what appear to be whips" on migrants.

"I have seen some of the footage. I don't have the full context. I can't imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don't have additional details," responded Psaki. "I don't think anyone seeing that footage would think it's acceptable or appropriate."

Yamiche Alcindor of PBS pressed Psaki on the issue further, and described the Border Patrol as "seemingly using whips" before asking if they should be fired.

"I mean, Yamiche, it's all good questions. We just saw this footage. It's horrible to watch. I just have to get more information on it," she replied.

CNN's April Ryan interrupted but Psaki talked over her.

"Again, April, I don't have more information on it. I've also seen the video. I can't imagine what the scenario is where that would be appropriate," Psaki said.

Ryan later retweeted the false claim that they were "whipping" the migrants, while Alcindor had earlier tweeted the false claim that one of the agents had "swung his whip menacingly" at the Haitians.

Many on social media ridiculed the news media personalities and pundits who repeated the false claim that whips were used in migrants.

"The reins are held in the rider's hands. They are usually long enough to perhaps APPEAR whip-like and occasionally a rider will use it to spur the mount a bit. But reins are not whips. Border Patrol doesn't carry whips," explained reporter Mike Glenn of the Washington Times.

Here's the video of the horseback Border Patrol agents:

Thousands of migrants huddled under a Texas bridge www.youtube.com

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