Master class in information manipulation: Obama, Trump, migrants, and ‘former Japanese internment camp’

Master class in information manipulation: Obama, Trump, migrants, and ‘former Japanese internment camp’
Dormitory for migrant children at Fort Sill, 2014. Image HHS/Fort Sill via Oklahoma Gazette (link in text)

It just wouldn’t sound the same if The Hill told us the Trump administration was sending migrant children to be housed at the vast Army base at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma.

That would sound, you know, humane, if not ideal.  Virtually all of these children are unaccompanied minors, most in their teens.  It’s much better for them to be housed while they await processing in adequate facilities where the younger ones can be separated from the older ones, and services including medical care, school teaching, and supervised play are easier to provide.

But The Hill apparently didn’t want it to sound better.  So The Hill’s headline reads:

Trump administration to send migrant children to former Japanese internment camp: report

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Oh, don’t worry.  That headline has already been changed.  It was recovered from the Internet archive and memorialized in a screen capture.  (The archive may be scrubbed, after all.  It happens.)

Screen cap by author (original Hill headline)

And the new headline reads:

Trump administration to send migrant children to Army base once used as Japanese internment camp

That sounds a shade less cynically manipulative, I guess.  It still makes its point, but doesn’t leave out the essential fact that the children’s destination is a fully equipped, active military base (with some of the most extensive human-support facilities the Department of Defense provides anywhere, and with an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services making the arrangements for habitability and care).

James Taranto is to be credited with laying this out for us in a tweet thread on Thursday.

You already knew this, without even checking, but yes: of course, the Obama administration did the exact same thing.  It sent unaccompanied minor migrants to Fort Sill to be housed.  Everything the Trump administration has done in this regard, the Obama administration was doing years ago.

The Hill article even mentions that.

The Health and Human Services Department (HHS), which operates the Office of Refugee Resettlement, said it was activating facilities at Fort Sill Army Base near Lawton, Okla., as a temporary emergency shelter for children detained at the border.

The site also was used as a shelter in 2014 under the Obama administration.

The point could also be made that Fort Sill was used to intern Japanese Americans by Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democratic president with the status of an icon among Democrats.  Would that be a cheap shot?  Your call.  But if it is, then any irrelevant reference to the use of Fort Sill as a Japanese internment camp is a cheap shot.

Meanwhile, the leftosphere has done its version of the seize-pounce and trotted out numerous posts in the last 24 hours decrying the Trump administration’s placement of migrant children in a Japanese internment camp.  Run your own searches to verify that multiple pages come up with this prominent theme.

I ran a Google search on “Japanese internment fort sill minors” and the same one on “migrant children” for the year 2014, and didn’t come up with even one single reference to the Obama policy executed that year in the first 10 pages of results.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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