Media Are Literally Copy-and-Pasting ICE Press Releases

“Copy-and-pasting press releases” is typically used as a term of art to indicate that media are mindlessly repeating a corporate or government line. But recent coverage of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “gang raids” across the country has various outlets literally copy-and-pasting ICE’s press release.

Take San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT (5/11/17):

KSAT: ICE press release:
Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and affiliates, including 137 affiliated with the Bloods, 118 with the Sureños, 104 with MS-13 and 104 with the Crips, officials said. The other suspects claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on criminal or administrative charges. Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and affiliates – including 137 affiliated with the Bloods, 118 with the Sureños, 104 with MS-13, and 104 with the Crips. The remaining 283 claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on either criminal or administrative charges.

 

KSAT attempts to avoid outright plagiarism by adding an “officials said,” but the lack of quotation marks qualifies it as plagiarism anyway.

Gannett’s Detroit Free Press (5/11/17) didn’t even bother jamming an “officials said” in there, instead copy-and-pasting language from the ICE press release word for word:

Detroit Free Press: ICE press release:
Of those arrested, 1,098 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges, including 21 people arrested on murder-related charges and seven on rape and sexual assault charges. The remaining 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations. Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,098 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges, including 21 individuals arrested on murder related charges and seven for rape and sexual assault charges. The remaining 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations.

 

Fox 2 Detroit (5/11/17) would also cut and paste with a slight tweak:

 

Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR’s Dallas Franklin (5/11/17) ran away with the plagiarism gold, however, rattling off three entire paragraphs directly from the ICE press release (5/11/17) word for word, without bothering to alter them at all:

Fox 2: ICE press release:
Of the 1,378 arrests, 1,098 were on federal or state charges, including 21 with murder-related charges and seven for rape and sexual assault. 280 were arrested on immigration violations.

 

Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,098 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges, including 21 individuals arrested on murder related charges and seven for rape and sexual assault charges. The remaining 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations.
KFOR: ICE press release:
Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and associates – including 137 affiliated with the Bloods, 118 with the Sureños, 104 with MS-13, and 104 with the Crips. The remaining 283 claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on either criminal or administrative charges….
Individuals are confirmed as gang members if they admit membership in a gang; have been convicted of violating Title 18 USC 521 or any other federal or state law criminalizing or imposing civil consequences for gang-related activity; or if they meet certain other criteria such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source.
During this operation, HSI and its partner law enforcement agencies seized 238 firearms; various narcotics including 790.15 ounces of cocaine, 546.96 ounces of methamphetamine, 113.42 ounces of heroin, 1.59 ounces of fentanyl, and 8,019.46 ounces of marijuana; and $491,763 in U.S currency.
Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and affiliates – including 137 affiliated with the Bloods, 118 with the Sureños, 104 with MS-13, and 104 with the Crips. The remaining 283 claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on either criminal or administrative charges….
Individuals are confirmed as gang members if they admit membership in a gang; have been convicted of violating Title 18 USC 521 or any other federal or state law criminalizing or imposing civil consequences for gang-related activity; or if they meet certain other criteria such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source.
During this operation, HSI and its partner law enforcement agencies seized 238 firearms; various narcotics including 790.15 ounces of cocaine, 546.96 ounces of methamphetamine, 113.42 ounces of heroin, 1.59 ounces of fentanyl, and 8,019.46 ounces of marijuana; and $491,763 in U.S currency.

(The KFOR version even faithfully reproduces a typo from the ICE press release: “U.S” for “U.S.” in the last line.)

Verbatim copying is a specific problem in ICE “gang raid” reporting, pointed out by Gaby Del Valle in The Outline (5/1/17) earlier this month, when she caught, among others, Houston’s NBC affiliate copy-and-pasting an ICE press release from April almost word for word:

ICE selected five immigrants to highlight in its release, all of whom were mentioned in the Click2Houston story. Here’s ICE’s summary of one of the arrests:

A 32-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested without incident in Houston. A Barrio North Side gang member with convictions for marijuana possession, unlawfully carrying a firearm and evading arrest. He was previously removed from the United States in September 2006.

Click2Houston’s reporting was nearly identical to the language in the release:

A 32-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested without incident in Houston on April 19. He is a Barrio North Side gang member with convictions for marijuana possession, unlawfully carrying a firearm and evading arrest, according to authorities. He was previously removed from the United States in September 2006.

FAIR has documented other examples as well, such as Charlotte’s Fox affiliate (11/1/16)  transcribing three entire paragraphs from a November 2016 ICE release (11/1/16) without attribution:

Fox 46: ICE press release:
Members of MS-13 in Charlotte participated in multiple meetings at various times to discuss gang-related matters and to plan the commission of future crimes for the benefit of the gang. They were also responsible for numerous criminal acts including murder and attempted murder.
On Dec. 18, 2013, Zelaya shot and killed Jose Orlando Ibarra, a member of rival gang “The Latin Kings.” Zelaya admitted to law enforcement that he shot Ibarra because Ibarra owed him money for a gun and because Ibarra and his brother, another Latin King member, had been looking for one of Zelaya’s associates with a shotgun.
On June 6, 2013, Ordonez-Vega shot and killed Noel Navarro Hernandez in a Charlotte strip-mall parking lot. Ordonez-Vega and other MS-13 members targeted Navarro because they believed that Navarro was a rival gang member.
Members of MS-13 in Charlotte participated in multiple meetings at various times to discuss gang-related matters and to plan the commission of future crimes for the benefit of the gang. They were also responsible for numerous criminal acts including murder and attempted murder.
On Dec. 18, 2013, Zelaya shot and killed Jose Orlando Ibarra, a member of rival gang “The Latin Kings.” Zelaya admitted to law enforcement that he shot Ibarra because Ibarra owed him money for a gun and because Ibarra and his brother, another Latin King member, had been looking for one of Zelaya’s associates with a shotgun.
On June 6, 2013, Ordonez-Vega shot and killed Noel Navarro Hernandez in a Charlotte strip-mall parking lot. Ordonez-Vega and other MS-13 members targeted Navarro because they believed that Navarro was a rival gang member.

 

And these are just examples of the media literally copy and pasting press releases; this doesn’t address the exceedingly common practice of taking the press release and slightly rewriting it—something CNN (5/11/17; ICE press release, 5/11/17) and Washington Post (4/5/17; ICE press release, 4/5/17) did in their reporting on ICE raids. The vast majority of reporting on Thursday’s “raid,” from NBC News (5/11/17) to the San Antonio Express News (5/11/17) to WTOP (5/11/17) to ABC News (5/11/17), only repeated government claims, never once talking with any of the arrestees’ families or lawyers, community activists or immigrant rights groups.

Several outlets, like Fox News Business (5/11/17) and Time (5/11/17), asserted the arrestees’ “gang member” status simply on the say-so of the government—a power-serving habit FAIR (5/2/16) documented last year.

Fox Business, Time "gang member" headlines

Headlines in Fox Business News (left) and Time (both 5/11/17) found the subjects of their stories guilty without a trial.

Without going through every DHS and ICE press release and cross-checking them against local media reports, it’s impossible to document the scope of the problem. But with a half-dozen glaring examples in just the past few weeks alone, it appears rampant in local media. Rewriting press releases to mindlessly advance a government narrative is bad enough; literally plagiarizing government press releases in the service of the same ends is a whole new low in corporate media stenography.

http://ift.tt/2r9BmPq Source: http://fair.org




Leave a Reply