Fox & Friends Contradicts Shep Smith’s Reporting on Trump’s Child Separation Policy


Fox & Friends parroted the words of President Donald Trump Wednesday morning on the issue of the draconian policy of separating children from parents detained at the US. Southern border.

Fox & Friends producers aired a clip from a Tuesday afternoon press scrum in the Oval Office with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in which President Trump reiterated his position on child separation. The commander in chief said “I’m the one that stopped it president Obama had child separation,” before adding that “once you don’t have it, that’s why you see many more people coming. They are coming like it’s a picnic because let’s go to Disney land.”

He finished with “President Obama separated children. They had child separation. I was the one that changed it.”

Coming out of the clip, Ainsley Earhardt agreed, saying “He did. He signed an executive order last June ending the separations.”

The absurdity of this remark should be underscored: Trump implemented a “zero tolerance” policy that enforced family separations, which the Obama administration sought to avoid. After a deafening backlash, Trump caved and reversed his own policy with an executive order. That was explained by Fox News anchor Shepard Smith on Tuesday but apparently lost on Earhardt.

Her comment was followed by at least some clarity from Steve Doocy, who chimed in “And he’s right. They did have family separations in some cases during the Obama Administration.” Doocy then made clear “The difference between that and the Trump Administration was the Trump Administration instituted a zero tolerance policy. And that was the — got all the publicity and that is what he ended.”

This is a very topline summary of a complicated set of policies, the spirit of which doesn’t just run counter to conventional wisdom, but also runs counter to the information determined by the Fox News research team.

Fox News news anchor Smith fact-checked Trump’s stream-of-consciousness and spirited Oval Office comments yesterday and came up with this well-researched and fair portrayal of the border policy at issue:

In 2005, President George W. Bush launched Operation Streamline to arrest, imprison, and deport those here illegally. But Fox News research shows officials often gave children a pass. President Obama continued the operation. However, the Obama administration tended to keep families together. There were exceptions, but it was not the policy to separate.

After President Trump issued the zero-tolerance order, officials did separate children from their parents. Some families have not yet been reunited. President Trump also spoke about cages. It is true that some of the photos circulating online showed children kept in chain-linked enclosures during the Obama Administration. For instance, this photo is from 2014. In that year, the Obama Administration saw a surge in children and families from Central America. They started jailing families together as family units. And according to the reporting of our corporate cousins at the Wall Street Journal and others, ‘Obama Administration officials considered separating families, but opted not to do so.’ The Trump administration did separate families.

The Trump Department of Homeland Security estimates more than 2300 children had been separated from their families by last spring. And the Trump administration did detain children in cages. An unknown number of those children is still not back with their families. President Trump said today he is not reinstating his own child separation policy

Much is made of the difference between Fox News opinion programs such as Fox & Friends (which is considered to be President Trump’s favorite cable news program) and Fox News news programming such as the one hour in the afternoon that Shep Smith hosts. The difference between the two programs has never been starker or better exemplified by the different reporting illustrated above.

Watch above via Fox News.

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