Fact Check: Reuters Posts Misleading Video on Racism, Unrest

Reuters journalist Yahaira Jacquez speaks about President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Thomson Reuters

CLAIM: President Donald Trump wants “a militaristic response” to riots, and Joe Biden resists calls to “defund the police.”

VERDICT: FALSE. Trump wants to assist local law enforcement, and Biden’s position is no different from defunding police.

The Reuters news agency published an astonishing video Tuesday, riddled with errors and left-wing propaganda about racism, the current unrest, and the positions of the two presidential candidates about what should be done about these issues.

Reuters tweeted: “President Trump has responded to the nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death by focusing on ‘law and order’ and urging a militaristic response. On the other hand, Joe Biden has resisted activists [sic] calls to defund the police #USElection2020”. The accompanying video is titled “Trump vs. Biden on race in America.”

The video starts by playing a selectively edited clip of Trump’s 2015 campaign announcement in Trump Tower. It quotes him as saying: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

The video leaves out Trump saying he is not talking about all Mexican immigrants: “And some, I assume, are good people.”

It then goes on to quote Biden saying: “This guy’s more George Wallace the George Washington.” It does not show any of Biden’s numerous racist remarks — arguably, far more racist than anything Trump has said — including “you ain’t black.”

The narrator then accuses Trump of downplaying racism “while simultaneously making racist and xenophobic comments.” She claims that “Biden has positioned himself as a crusader for racial justice,” a claim evidently to be taken at face value.

The video then addresses the question of what each candidate proposes to do about unrest. It notes, correctly, that Trump wants a “law and order” approach, but then describes that as “a militaristic response.”

Reuters never explains what that is supposed to mean, but Trump said as recently as Monday that he was reluctant to use the military — the “tougher route” — and would prefer to be asked by struggling state and local authorities to provide federal law enforcement resources. (Notably, President Barack Obama sent the national guard to restore order in Baltimore in 2015; he was not accused of “militarism.”)

Reuters claims that Biden has “resisted activists’ calls to ‘defund the police’.” This is false, as Breitbart News has noted: “Biden formally opposes demands to ‘defund the police,’ but backs ‘re-directing’ funding from police to other priorities, which is the same thing.”

A Reuters journalist is brought on to question Trump’s claims to have helped the black community. He argues that Trump is playing “both sides of the issue,” and goes on to repeat claims that Trump uses racial language.

Again, the video does not discuss any of Biden’s past racial language, nor his controversial record on black incarceration.

This is not the work of a news agency; it is the agitprop of partisan political propaganda, but it bears the Reuters imprimatur.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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