Watch the Border Crisis Propaganda You’re Paying for in Central America

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 10 2014 1:01 PM

Watch the Border Crisis Propaganda You’re Paying for in Central America

84998315-do-not-enter-sign-stands-outside-the-new-york-stock
No entry

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

A few days ago, Breitbart.com spotlighted one of the ads the DHS was buying in Central America, warning possible immigrants not to cross the border. The most dramatic ad told a 60-second story of a young man—who, according to Breitbart, looked a lot like a young Barack Obama—taking a chance and being caught dead in the desert.

Advertisement

A great hook, and not wrong, but the point of the campaign is to instill an ironic panic and combat rumors that you'll get papers if you crash the border. Evan McMorris-Santoro has more on the campaign, which the administration wants $5 million to plunk on Central American TV, and he points to a far less effective ad in which a man talks to a coyote—he literally shape-shifts!—about to scam him into a trip.

The context for all this is the aforementioned rumors about the milk, honey, manna, and green cards awaiting border-crossers. The political context, which I get at in this story today, is that the administration wants $3.7 billion for quickie border enforcement (it would prefer a comprehensive bill, but well, you know), and Republicans are blaming the surge of underage immigrants on the administration's weakness and deferred action program.

Side note: One major political Narrative about the crisis is that the president has looked aloof by refusing to visit the border or the processing center (in Murietta, Texas) where growing numbers of children are waiting. You have to wonder whether the international attention that would follow a visit—"president visits border crossers"—would contradict the whole propaganda campaign.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 11:41 AM Klobucharmania: Catch It!
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 10:17 AM How Jack Ma Founded Alibaba
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 11:40 AM How to Put Things in Your Fridge
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.