Fox News' migrant caravan coverage backfires: Panel of independent voters rejects fearmongering

"Fox & Friends" asked a panel of independent voters on immigrant caravan — and got some surprising answers

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 22, 2018 12:50PM (EDT)

 (Fox News)
(Fox News)

When "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy asked a panel of independent voters for their thoughts on a caravan of 5,000 Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to reach the United States, he seemed surprised by their answers, which expressed sympathy for the individuals fleeing poverty, oppression and violence.

"I think uneven immigration laws are a problem for any country," one independent voter told Doocy when asked about America's immigration laws. "And I think our immigration laws need to be modernized and updated. But this country is founded on immigration. And all of us come from immigrants."

When asked how he would feel if the caravan reached 20,000 people, the voter responded, "This is the mightiest country on the planet, I think we can handle a caravan of people, unarmed, coming to this country," although he added that the government should "process them properly."

Another independent voter on the panel also expressed sympathy for the migrants and condemned both political parties for their handling of the situation.

"There’s a humanitarian crisis taking place in Central America. And yet, this issue gets turned into a complete political football. There’s very little honest discussion about what’s actually happening, it gets turned into talking points," he told Doocy.


A third panelist, seemingly referring to Fox News' coverage of the issue, commented that, "Treating this as an ‘invasion’ is a bad idea and it’s going to end horribly... People have to realize these are human beings coming here, and there needs to be a real solution offered in dealing with it."

Earlier, "Fox & Friends" host Doocy implied sinister forces were at work behind the caravan.

At a different point in the Fox News program on Monday, co-host Brian Kilmeade seemed to undermine his network's own fearmongering coverage."I imagine these are good people. Most of them are good people. I'm sure some are up to no good. I'm sure they just want a better life. I get that."

At the same time, Kilmeade pointed the finger of blame at Sen. Dianne Feinstein, claiming that she had supported policies which had encouraged lax immigration policies.

"Where are they getting water? Where are they getting food? Who's handling the logistics? I mean, I was reading in the LA Times that apparently a number of Mexicans who live in the area lined the highway, handed out clothes and sandwiches and bottles of water, but still: 7,000 people. You know, that's an army of people. Who is feeding them?" Doocy asked. His comments played into a larger right-wing theory that the immigrant caravan is being secretly funded by wealthy left-wingers, with Jewish business magnate and philanthropist George Soros frequently cited as one such villain.

The individuals in the caravan have a number of backgrounds, according to The Washington Post. They include men and women fleeing political turmoil in Nicaragua, poverty in Guatemala and violent crime in Honduras. Many of them are migrants who had lived in the United States for years but been deported and are now attempting to reunite with their families and get back their old jobs. Trump, by contrast, has depicted the migrants in disparaging terms, claiming last week that "there are some bad people in that group. This country doesn’t want them."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Ainsley Earhardt Brian Kilmeade "fox & Friends" Immigrant Caravan Steve Doocy