Viral photos claiming to show the Trump administration “torturing” migrant children were actually taken during Barack Obama’s presidency, social media users have revealed.
The revelation came amid controversy over the Trump administration’s treatment of migrants in U.S. border detention centers, which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken to calling “concentration camps.”
Actress Nancy Lee Grahn, 63, who is best known for her work on daytime soap operas like “General Hospital,”disseminated the photos Friday in a tweet to her 135,000 followers. She said they captured Trump officials “forcing children 2 sleep on a cement floor with an aluminum blanket & lights on all night.”
She added: “Sarah Fabian from DOJ argued in court that it was good enough & soap was unnecessary. Companies making 750 a kid a day to torture them.”
Trump administration is forcing children 2 sleep on cement floor with an aluminum blanket & lights on all night. Sarah Fabian from DOJ argued in court that it was good enough & soap was unnecessary. Companies making 750 a kid a day to torture them. pic.twitter.com/XuNIVZwkJW
— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) June 21, 2019
The tweet went viral, garnering some 39,000 likes and 35,000 retweets.
However, Twitter users soon debunked Grahn’s claims. As it turned out, the photos date from August 2015, when President Barack Obama was overseeing immigration policy. According to a 2015 NPR report, the surveillance images were taken in from inside a border patrol holding facility in Tucson, Arizona.
Trump concentration camps or media distortion?
Conservative media strategist Caleb Hull accused Grahn of intentionally cropping out the time stamp in the photos.
“30,000 retweets for this total lie,” he tweeted. “These pictures are from 2015 and Nancy cropped the time stamp out of the top left. This only further proves the media took an 8 year nap under Obama.”
“It doesn’t get much worse than this, folks,” Hull said in a followup tweet. “Fake news is the enemy of the people.”
In her tweet, you can even see that she didn’t fully crop out the black box covering the beginning of the time stamp I posted above.
It doesn’t get much worse than this, folks.
Fake news is the enemy of the people. pic.twitter.com/MKrtWgzB5y
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) June 24, 2019
To be fair, there was some critical coverage of the Obama administration’s migrant detention practices in real time. See these New York Times articles from 2015 and 2016 about the operation and construction of facilities.
And in case people forgot, The Associated Press published a fact-check Saturday, saying:
Whether they are called prison cells or something else, Obama held children in temporary, ill-equipped facilities and built a large center in McAllen, Texas, that is used now.
Democrats routinely and inaccurately blame Trump for creating “cages” for children. They are actually referring to chain-link fencing inside the McAllen center – Obama’s creation.
Conditions for detained migrants deteriorated sharply during a surge of Central American arrivals under Trump, particularly in El Paso, Texas.
However, it’s safe to say that the intensity of the coverage during the Obama era was nowhere near what it is today. The even more dramatic difference is in liberal outcry, which had made such fake viral moments a recurring feature of Trump’s presidency.