My colleague Nick Arama reported yesterday on how numerous reporters were sounding alarm bells about how the Biden administration was severely limiting press access to Border Patrol agents and migrant facilities where thousands of unaccompanied minors are reportedly being kept in conditions that human rights groups and even some Democrats have said are deplorable and inhumane.
According to NBC News, “Border Patrol officials have been told to deny all media requests for ‘ride-alongs’ with agents along the southern land border” and “local press officers are instructed to send all information queries, even from local media, to the press office in Washington for approval.”
In addition to that, media requests for photographers to be able to take or obtain pictures from inside the overcrowded border facilities “have been denied.”
As you might imagine, the White House’s response on this matter has been pathetic and evasive, as we saw during the Wednesday press briefing when White House press secretary Jen Psaki kept referring reporters who asked about it to the Department of Homeland Security while at the same time touting the administration’s supposed commitment to transparency.
Unfortunately, the response from some Democratic members of Congress on the issue hasn’t been any better. In fact, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) appeared this morning on the CNN “Newsroom” program to talk about the border crisis, and her response to questions she was asked about cutting off the press from being able to tour and report on the migrant facilities was to claim it was “inappropriate” for the media to be allowed into the facilities. Her rationale? COVID protocols. Sound familiar?
But while Sanchez’s answer was entirely predictable, what made the interview worth watching was the incredulous looks on CNN anchor Poppy Harlow’s face at various points as Sanchez was saying reporters shouldn’t be allowed to visit the facilities. Harlow busted her a couple of times, once when Sanchez played the “but Trump!” card in trying to cover for Biden and the other when Sanchez tried to make excuses for why some of the minors at the facility were being kept there for more than the legally allowed limit of 72 hours.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 18, 2021
Harlow was right on the money here. You can’t complain about the Trump administration supposedly not allowing members of Congress access to the border facilities (which actually wasn’t true as several delegations of Democrats and Republicans visited them back in 2019) and then turn right back around and make lame excuses for why it’s suddenly okay for a Democrat President to restrict reporters from being able to go in and cover what’s happening.
As media critics on the right have often said, when you’re a Democrat and you’ve lost the cheerleading section at CNN, then you know you’ve lost the argument.