Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden, Biden administration, Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security, Evans Bishop, Haitians, Herblock, Im-Politic, Immigration, Lalo Alcaraz, Library of Congress, Michael Cavna, migrants, misinformation, Texas National Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Washington Post
The American Mainstream Media complex has already established the practice of not rescinding major journalism awards it’s handed out for stories that seemed plausible when published or broadcast, but have since been debunked. So I wasn’t surprised to find out yesterday that this national news establishment has taken its biases and its contempt for accuracy to the next level.
But I was disgusted nonetheless – and you should be, too – by the honoring of a political cartoonist whose work was exposed as fraudulent by the time the decision was made. Even worse, the U.S. Library of Congress, a part of the federal government that you and I pay for, has lent its name to this outrage.
The latest recipient of the Herblock Prize (named after the late, famed Washington Post editorial cartoonist) is Lalo Alcaraz, and it’s certainly noteworthy, as reported in the Post, that he’s the first Latino to win.
The problem, however, which was overlooked by the Herb Block Foundation, the Library, Post reporter Michael Cavna, and apparently every single one of his editors, is that Alcaraz has purveyed the falsehood that last year, U.S. Border Patrol agents used whips against migrants from Haiti trying to enter the country illegally. In fact, as shown in the article, he insinuated that such brutality has long been Standard Operating Procedure by the Border Patrol. (For some reason, I couldn’t manage to reproduce an image of the drawing here.)
When it came out, it was plausible that this incident deserved investigation. After all, even President Biden declared, “I promise you, those people will pay.”
Almost immediately, however the claims of whipping began falling apart. The photographer who took the pictures in question declared that “I didn’t ever see [any agents] whip anybody, with the thing. [The agent he photographed] was swinging it. But I didn’t see him actually take — whip someone with it. That’s something that can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”
In fact, it quickly turned out that what were described as whips were really split reins. Even Open Borders-happy Alejandro Mayorkas, the Biden administration Secretary of Homeland Security, stated that these reins were being used to ensure control of the horses – before following up by claiming that the pictures “horrified him.”
Late last month, a representative of the Border Patrol agents’ labor union told the New York Post that the accused officers had been cleared of criminal wrongdoing, though the Customs and Border Patrol agency of the Homeland Security department is still conducting an “administrative investigation” that could still cost them their jobs. And in early April, a group of Republican Senators, noting that more than six months had passed for a probe that Mayorkas had promised would be “completed in days, if not weeks,” pressed the administration to release the findings. Yet they still remain secret.
None of this wealth of exculpatory information, however, seems to have impressed Alcaraz – much less persuaded him to apologize for spreading such misinformation. And why should he, when mainstream news organizations like the Washington Post actually continue codding his treatment of the controversy. Indeed, here’s how reporter Cavna described the award-winner’s drawing: “In one work, he drew a rope-wielding member of the U.S. Border Patrol on horseback in the style of an antique engraving — visually evoking last year’s viral photo of an agent trying to stop a Haitian migrant in Texas.”
Alcaraz is lucky in one respect though – he has a chance to make amends. As widely reported, late last week, a Texas National Guard member Evans Bishop drowned in the Rio Grande River while trying to save a migrant struggling to swim across. The Guard isn’t the Border Patrol, but it’s carrying out the same border security mission. How fitting if Alcaraz drew a tribute to his selflessness. And how seemingly unlikely.