Many Americans were wholly unsurprised to wake up the morning after the midterm elections and discover that hysteria over the caravan of Central American migrants — the one President Donald Trump and numerous conservative pundits and politicians painted as an imminent threat — had suddenly disappeared.
Though it seemed obvious to countless people that Trump and others were using the caravan as a tool for scaring their supporters into voting Republican, there was certainly no doubt by Wednesday morning, when even Fox & Friends neglected to fan the anti-immigration flames.
n the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, President Donald Trump, his Republican allies, and Fox News teamed up to fearmonger about a caravan of people traveling from Central America toward America’s southern border — not stopping even after a gunman motivated by an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about it opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, killing 11 people.
The caravan received heavy coverage on Fox & Friends, where it was portrayed as “an invasion” that Democrats weren’t doing enough to stop. According to transcripts, the caravan was mentioned 19 times on Friday’s edition of the show, 10 times on Monday, and nine times on Tuesday. Fox News has even embedded a reporter with the caravan to provide updates about its progress.
But on Wednesday morning? The migrant caravan on received one mention on Fox & Friends, and even then, it was only in passing.
“Many in the media laughed as well when the president framed [the midterms] as about [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh, the caravan,” host Ed Henry said at one point — the only time the caravan was mentioned on the entire show.
Vox noted that the White House was fairly transparent about its intent with the caravan messaging: whether or not the migrants constituted a true national security threat was irrelevant; it was meant to scare people.
For instance, days before the Pittsburgh shooting, an unnamed senior Trump administration official told the Daily Beast that “it doesn’t matter” if the fear-mongering campaign surrounding the caravan is “100 percent accurate” — the important thing is that “this is the play” to motivate Republicans to vote.
Still, though Fox laid off caravan coverage on Wednesday, it may return in the days to come. On Tuesday, Vox’s Dara Lind reported that “[a]s soon as this week, the Trump administration is expected to issue a new asylum policy — ostensibly in response to the migrant ‘caravan’ — that could have the effect of barring people who enter the US between ports of entry from asylum.”