A Reuters photograph showing a migrant mother reportedly fleeing with her young children from tear gas at the U.S-Mexico border has sparked anger from many on the left, while raising questions from some skeptics on the right.
Carla Provost, chief patrol agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told Fox News on Monday that approximately 1,000 migrants tried to rush the border near the San Ysidro port of entry between Tijuana and San Diego the previous day.
.@USBPChief Provost: Yesterday our agents were being assaulted. A large group rushed the area & were throwing rocks & bottles at my men & women, putting them in harm’s way as well as other members of the caravan. More via @FoxandFriends https://t.co/6GtmTBOHzw
— CBP (@CBP) November 26, 2018
Among that group, dozens managed to breach the border fence and began throwing rocks and other projectiles at border agents, which prompted the officers to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd.
San Diego-based Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said told CNN on Monday that 42 arrests were made.
Reuters national affairs editor Jason Szep tweeted an image from the confrontation, which he captioned, “Incredibly moving and potent photos of a mother fleeing tear gas with her children at the southwest U.S. border.”
— Jason Szep (@jasonszep) November 26, 2018
One observant Twitter user noticed some usual things in the picture, The Daily Wirereported.
First, many people in the immediate background were not running.
Second, a family not far from the mother appears to be stationary as a cameraman stood next to them, as if they were preparing to take a staged picture.
Third, a cameraman can be seen set up with his tripod just down the way with a young boy running toward him.
Finally, the smoke is actually blowing downwind from the woman.
#FakeNews Media all share same photo of “women & kids gassed”.
Perpetrators of invasion instantly become victims in new #FakeNews narrative.
— ????????#WalkAway Mexican J.Lo. (@jetrotter) November 26, 2018
The Washington Post used the photo as the featured image of its video about CPB agents firing tear gas in an article titled, “Why Tear Gas, Lobbed at Migrants on the Southern Border, Is Banned in Warfare.”
Despite its provocative headline, The Post story notes that CS gas is legal to use by “both police and federal authorities in the United States and many other countries” to disperse a crowd.
U.S. military recruits are exposed to it during basic training in an enclosed space, making it much more potent.
The Post ran a second story headlined, “These Children are Barefoot. In Diapers. Choking on Tear Gas,” and captioned, “Photos of migrant children fleeing tear gas spark online outrage at Trump.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that in November 2013, almost five years ago to the day and during the Obama administration, Border Patrol agents fired pepper-spray balls into a group of 100 people trying to rush the border near the San Ysidro port of entry.
As with Sunday’s incident, the migrants had thrown rocks at border agents.
“This type of rush on the border has not been seen since the late 1980s and early ’90s, when groups of border-crossers would run into the U.S. while agents tried to apprehend as many people as possible,” the Tribune reported at the time. “The practice mostly disappeared after Operation Gatekeeper began in 1994 and brought with it tall fences, walls and more agents.”