News outlets, pundits, politicians, and other social media blue checkmarks pushed a viral video with claims that Hurricane Hanna had knocked down part of a border wall in Texas. The claim was debunked by U.S. authorities and the Mexican public official who first published the video has deleted it from her account.
The fake news began on Monday when Yadith Valdez, a former journalist and the current spokeswoman for the Nuevo Leon Attorney General’s Office tweeted a video that showed sections of a border wall under construction collapsing from strong winds. In her now-deleted tweet, Valdez claimed the collapse was caused by Hurricane Hanna, which struck the Rio Grande Valley over the weekend. Valdez’s video gained traction in Mexico where news outlets took her claims as factual and published stories without consulting with U.S. or Mexican border officials.
After the video became viral, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement saying they were not aware of any wall panels falling down in the Rio Grande Valley. The agency claimed the video appears to be from June in New Mexico when strong winds knocked down unanchored wall panels.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid retweeted a message from Trump critic Rex Champan, who parroted Valdez’s video with a remark that Hurricane Hanna had blown over “Trump’s mighty border wall.”
Oh well… https://t.co/bHeHOnenoV
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 26, 2020
Hurricane Hanna – just now – blowing over Trump’s mighty border wall between the United States and Mexico…. https://t.co/0zNejNLYC9
— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) July 26, 2020
The Anti-Trump PAC Lincoln Project also shared Valdez’s video tweeting, “World’s greatest wall. ”
“World’s greatest wall.” https://t.co/ffNFhxoOYu
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 27, 2020
Actor Rob Reiner joined in via Twitter.
There is no more vivid metaphor for the Trump presidency than the collapse of that idiotic wall.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) July 27, 2020
The Independent published a story claiming that Trump was mocked after people thought the wall collapsed.
People think the Texas section of Trump’s ‘big, strong’ border wall just collapsed and are very amused https://t.co/9e2Sc8v6LE
— The Independent (@Independent) July 27, 2020
The Daily Mail dubbed the border fence, “Trump’s Indestructible Border Wall.” In their initial version of the story, the Mail aggregated a Mexican news outlet and did not include any confirmation from U.S. Customs and Border Protection or Mexican authorities about the location or date. The publication has since stealth edited the story to add a claim by CBP that the video was not recorded in the Rio Grande Valley.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.