The muckraker and the border patrol
Everyone working at the border crossing knew that it was happening: brutal violence and abuses by border patrol agents. Sometimes even lethally. But the U.S. Customs and Border Protection wasn't talking, and politicians seemed more concerned with increasing its size and military power than in holding it accountable.
Enter John Carlos Frey, muckraker.
An investigative reporter of the old school, he got a tip about a secret videotape of a killing, in which a dozen border patrol agents brutally beat a hogtied migrant. Where thousands of reported abuses hadn't made a dent in official policy, maybe this video could spark a change. And so the dogged hunt began, leading to an expose that would trigger Congressional outrage, a buried investigation, and finally an official shift that could pave the way to lifesaving changes. On today's Good Fight, we examine the power of an image to awaken a nation to an outrage—and look at the dark side of the political drive to "secure the border."
Originally posted on
April 10, 2014
8 million progressives fighting for change.
In 2011, the volunteer organization No More Deaths published A Culture of Cruelty, an expansive report compiled from more than 4,000 interviews with more than 12,000 migrants, discovering and documenting systematic abuse of migrants at the hands of the U.S. Border Patrol.
In April 2012, John Carlos Frey reports the death Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas's for the three-part PBS series “Crossing the Line at the Border.”
The report sparked a national outrage: 16 members of Congress sent a letter in May demanding the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security investigate allegations of excessive force. In July 2012, a grand jury was convened to look into the death of San Diego resident Anastasio Hernandez Rojas.
In August 2012, six members of Congress released a joint statement condemning the alleged abuses and called for action. Now, as Juan Carlos Frey reports, the in-house oversight arm of the Department of Homeland security has added an investigation of Rojas’ death to its 2013 strategic plan.
In February 2013, a report by an external organization shows that the U.S. Border Patrol has been abusive; the Customs and Border Protection agency decides to conceal the report from the public.
John Carlos Frey publishes another story, this time on the Washington Monthly, about Border Patrol abuses.
In February 2014: Los Angeles Times reporter Brian Bennett obtains the concealed external report criticizing the Border Patrol.
In March 7 2014: Jeh Johnson, new DHS Secretary, changes policy around use of force by Border Patrol agents.
WIN: In Louisiana, District Judge Shelly Dick threw out the ridiculous lawsuit against MoveOn
and their billboard. After which Lt. Gov. Dardenne insulted the good people of Louisiana
LOSS: In 2013, Fox News segments on climate change were only accurate 28% of the time. In 78% of cases, they said something misleading. Still, that's a lot better than 2012—when their climate segments contained misleading statements 93% of the time.
WIN: CNN's climate segments were 70% accurate and 30% misleading. (Is that really a win? Yes, unfortunately, that counts as a win.)
WIN: MSNBC is 92% accurate! And in the 8% of segments with misleading statements, the problems were all hosts overstating the effect of climate change.
Great wins organized by OUR Wal-Mart:
WIN: With help from a MoveOn petition
, the Nebraska School Activities Association reversed its decision
to censor Michael Barth's award-winning poem on gender identity before he appears on a television show.
WINPORTUNITY: The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify the CIA torture report. Now it's over to the White House to decide how much of it to not redact. Kudos to MoveOn
and Just Foreign Policy for moving the ball forward on this!
WINPORTUNITY: The Senate passed an unemployment insurance extension!
It is now off to the House, where, well, oy.MUSIC CREDITS
Calexico - Ben To The Road
Calexico - Contention City
Podington Bear - Epiphany
Podington Bear - Stuck Dream
Podington Bear - By Grace