A recent CBS documentary covering human smugglers is drawing backlash for the outlet, as critics allege the “coyotes” were portrayed sympathetically.
Now, the documentary’s claims that the human traffickers were “helping migrants survive” is eliciting a harsh response from conservatives, who allege CBS crossed the line in its portrayal of the smugglers.
The issue of illegal immigration, including the human trafficking that goes hand in hand, remains a major point of contention in the US, leaving lawmakers bitterly divided along partisan lines as to how to address the growing crisis.
In recent weeks, state and federal authorities have increasingly sought help from lawmakers, citing staggering numbers of illegal aliens apprehended after having entered the US.
President Trump and proponents of his plans to bolster security at the US-Mexico border have repeatedly condemned CBS and other mainstream media outlets, alleging biased coverage of the events currently occurring at the southern border.
From The Federalist:
In a misguided attempt to find an edgy new angle on the border crisis, CBS aired a documentary segment Sunday that casts a sympathetic light on a pair of coyotes, or human smugglers, in Panama.
Under the headline, “The human coyotes helping migrants survive Central America’s grueling Darien Gap jungle,” CBS portrays two men, Gonzalez Jimenez and his smuggling partner Augustin, as humanitarians just trying to help get migrants safely through a dangerous stretch of jungle:
Emerson Gonzalez Jimenez said he typically charges $700 to get people safely from Capurgana, Colombia, to Bajo Chiquito, Panama. He said he sometimes makes exceptions and lowers the cost, especially if he encounters migrants who were abandoned by their group. “Many get lost. They lose the path,” said Gonzalez Jimenez.
“I helped a lot of people, particularly women with children,” he said. “Because many have passed through here and not made it.”
Viewers must take Mr. Gonzalez Jimenez at his word: there are no women and children featured in the CBS segment, and in fact no migrants at all who are interviewed on camera.
The piece is the first chapter in a new CBS series called, “Border Business: Inside Immigration,” with forthcoming chapters on each stage of migrants’ journey to the U.S. border, profiling the people who help them along the way—all of whom, it seems, will be portrayed as humanitarians. The next chapter, “the rest stop,” is set in Tapachula, Mexico, on the border with Guatemala, where migrants rest and prepare for the trip through Mexico. “For locals like Concepción González Ramírez, it’s a business opportunity—as well as, in her case, something of a calling.”
Other chapters include, “the activist,” “the lawyer,” and “the smuggler.” If the first chapter is any indication, these profiles will be deeply uncritical, fawning portraits of ostensibly humanitarian folks who are just trying to help out the poor migrants trying to get to the U.S.