Rachel Maddow: Thank You for Covering Scott Lloyd (A Plea to Mainstream Media)

Rachel Maddow: Thank You for Covering Scott Lloyd (A Plea to Mainstream Media)

There’s so much tragedy involved in the United States’ current immigration policy. As administered by a heartless racist and his cabal of unqualified, corrupt goons, a system that was already broken when former Republican President George W. Bush tried to comprehensively address it in 2007, has become an abject humanitarian crisis. We have allowed ourselves to become a mockery of claims to welcome “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” As former Vice President Joe Biden said in a February speech given at the Munich Security Conference in Germany:

“The America I see values basic human decency, not snatching children from their parents or turning our back on refugees at our border…The American people understand…because it makes us an embarrassment. The American people know, overwhelmingly that it is not right. That it is not who we are.”

As Papa Joe knows, the national emergency is not the need for a pointless border wall (unauthorized immigration is at its lowest point in 10 years). The ongoing crisis is the separation of families, often fleeing hopeless violence and poverty, only to find refugee status an ever farther moving goal post. The lost children, the untreated illnesses they suffer in custody, the sexual assaults, the denial of basic humanitarian services – all of this done while an inept and unfeeling Congress (especially the Republican-led Senate) sits on its hands. That’s the goddamned crying shame that should be calling every American to the protest streets and the polls – not the racist campaign promises of an unfeeling, ignorant grifter.

There’s so much fodder for broad shame and self-loathing – not nearly enough of it covered by the both siderist-obsessed mainstream media. Its members have collectively decided that racism and the human cruelty fueled by it are valid positions to take. On March 15, the Washington Monthly’s Nancy LeTourneau wrote a piece entitled, “A Rational Immigration Debate Can’t Be Grounded in Nativism.” In it, she persuasively indicts colleagues who cover the American electorate and its leaders as owning pervasive, singular values:

It is “wrong is to assume that fears of immigration are a one-way street flowing from voters to either responsible or irresponsible leaders. That ignores the fact that for at least three years now, Donald Trump and his enablers have been fanning the flames of fear with lies and propaganda. People who are afraid of demographic and cultural changes listen to Trump or watch Tucker Carlson (or Lou Hobbs or Laura Ingraham) and have those fears affirmed and heightened. In other words, it’s a negative feedback loop that is constantly reinforced.”

It is understandably difficult to wallow in the moral sludge of this administration for a living. It must be tempting to reach for an insulating coping strategy that reduces arbitrary, authoritarian barbarism to a normalized policy position. But in the case of current immigration strategy and law enforcement, it is simply journalistic malpractice to shield oneself or the public from the truth. There are so many stories to cover when it comes to Donald Trump and his state-sanctioned, comprehensive malfeasance. Thus it’s with gratitude I acknowledge the work of writers like LeTourneau, and more mainstream media personalities like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, for continuing to cover the real border crisis with unflinching veracity.

Last night on her eponymous television show, Dr. Maddow showed viewers a spreadsheet maintained by the Trump administration’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. This benignly named civil liberties chop shop is led by a renowned anti-abortion activist with zero previous experience working with immigrant populations.

Scott Lloyd was called before Congress in February to testify about his office’s handling of child separations at the border and irreparable harm they have on the most vulnerable. In a new report, Maddow and her staff drew attention to Lloyd’s creepiest production to date, a document which tracks the pregnancies of unaccompanied minor girls with a singular goal of blocking requests to terminate them. The 28-page spreadsheet contains the names and sensitive personal information of underage rape victims, with an explicit intent to control their invaded bodies further, denying them the health care access guaranteed by the Constitution and the Supreme Court for ALL women within U.S. borders. The committed Catholic is an ungodly man of immeasurable overreach and dehumanizing cruelty.

The multi-faceted immigration horror stories being written by the Trump administration, its political appointees and a militarized ICE warrant relentless media coverage with moral clarity. What’s happening to children on our watch requires more from an admittedly overtaxed and personally threatened profession. Bi-partisan ratings appeal is a figment of the media landscape’s imagination, and has been for some decades. We have a responsibility to inform the public. Let’s follow the lead of journalists like LeTourneau and Maddow and tell the truth.

Becky Sarwate

Becky is an award-winning journalist, Op-Ed columnist and blogger. On March 29, 2018 her first book, Cubsessions: Famous Fans of Chicago’s North Side Baseball Team, will be published by Eckhartz Press. She is a proud Chicago resident, where Becky lives with her husband Bob. Check out her collected work at BeckySarwate.com, and follow her on Twitter @BeckySarwate.