Jim Acosta’s facepalm moment at the border
Jim Acosta may want to steer clear of his comrades in the liberal media for a while — at least until he manages to extract the loafer from his mouth.
In a single overzealous tweet, Acosta managed to prove both Donald Trump and Kellyanne Conway, two of his greatest adversaries, correct.
While covering President Trump’s trip to the southern border, CNN’s Jim Acosta made one of the great unforced errors of fake opinion journalism by inadvertently discrediting his own opposition to a border wall.
Acosta was widely mocked on social media after posting a video Thursday that was intended to downplay the President’s claims of a border crisis — but which actually ended up supporting the case that border barriers improve security.
“Here are some of the steel slats that the president’s been talking about,” Acosta said in a video shot next to a section of border wall. “But as we’re walking along here, we’re not seeing any kind of imminent danger.”
Acosta clearly meant to mock President Trump for calling the situation on our southern border a “crisis,” but the video could just as easily have been an ad produced by the Trump Campaign. All it lacked was a little message at the end saying, “I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message.”
Not only did the glib gambit backfire, it also came at a particularly embarrassing time for Acosta — just two days after Kellyanne Conway publicly chastised him for being a “smarta**.”
Compounding his blunder, Acosta included a caption that stated the accidental point even more clearly, writing, “I found some steel slats down on the border. But I don’t see anything resembling a national emergency situation … at least not in the McAllen TX area of the border where Trump will be today.”
Conservatives — including White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders; Donald Trump, Jr.; and even President Trump himself — quickly responded on social media by thanking Acosta for making the case for a border wall so effectively.
That’s the problem with fake news, of which Acosta is perhaps the premier purveyor: you have to be extremely careful about how you present it, lest the facts get in the way of the fictional narrative you’re trying to weave.
On the other side of the state from where Acosta posted his fateful video is the town of El Paso, Texas, which offers a perfect example of why Acosta had so much trouble contradicting the President’s argument for a border wall.
Federal data show that a border wall has significantly reduced both illegal immigrant crossings and crime in Texas’ sixth-largest city — even though it borders Juarez, one of Mexico’s most dangerous locales.
The number of illegal immigrants apprehended by Border Patrol agents fell drastically over the six-year period after the town’s border wall was built. Before the project began in 2006, illegal crossings averaged 122,261 per year. By 2012, after the 131-mile stretch of wall was completed, illegal immigrant crossings were below 9,700 per year — a decrease of over 90 percent.
In fact, border walls have proven effective just about everywhere they’ve been tried — not just here in America, but all over the world.
A wall worked perfectly along Israel’s border with Egypt, for instance, reducing illegal immigration by an astounding 99 percent. In 2011, before the wall was built, about 16,000 illegal immigrants poured into Israel across its western border. After the 143-mile fence was finished, fewer than 20 illegal immigrants made it across that same border throughout all of 2016.
Hungary experienced similar success after building a wall to address a flood of nearly 1,000 illegal border crossings per day. Once the government erected a 100-mile fence along its borders with Croatia and Serbia, illegal immigration plummeted by 99.7 percent in just two years.
If America were to secure its southern border with fencing and natural as well as man-made barriers in similar fashion, the bucolic scene that Acosta described in his video could well become the norm along the entirety of our nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico.
Jim Acosta made himself into a household name with partisan attacks on President Trump masquerading as “news” reporting. His “smarta**” hectoring never succeeded in doing much damage to President Trump’s political standing, but it may have just cost him his own standing among the anti-Trump fake news media.