Where did all of that migrant caravan fear-mongering go?

Trump, Republicans, and the media amplified caravan conspiracy theories for weeks before the midterms.

Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on November 2, 2018. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on November 2, 2018. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Hey, remember the migrant caravan traveling north from Central America that President Donald Trump and conservatives were freaking out about as recently as Monday?

You know, the caravan that Republicans used to spread conspiracy theories as their closing argument before the midterms?

Well something curious has happened since Tuesday’s elections.

The migrant caravan, which finally reached Mexico City, Mexico (still roughly 800 miles from the U.S. border) earlier this week after nearly a month of traveling, has completely disappeared from Trump’s Twitter account.

It’s also not being mentioned by Fox News anymore.

Nor is it being discussed by other conservative outlets that fear-mongered about the migrant caravan for weeks.

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday morning, less than 11 hours after the final polls had closed in the midterms, that Trump’s pre-election push to send troops to the border in “a misuse of active duty military” had lost its fancy name.

The political ploy formerly known as “Operation Faithful Patriot” was estimated to cost as much as $220 million even though as CNBC reported, a “Pentagon risk assessment found that the caravan did not pose a threat to the United States.”


Immigration was cited as the second-most important issue by voters in Tuesday’s exit polling, and Trump, Republican lawmakers, and far-right media pushed caravan conspiracy theories in days before the election.

Mainstream media outlets like CNN, the New York Times, and many others amplified the conservative fear-mongering to millions more Americans. A Media Matters study showed how much the migrant caravan dominated the New York Times and Washington Post before the midterms. In a three-week span, the two newspapers produced at least 115 stories on the migrant caravan, with 25 reaching the front pages on print editions.

The migrant caravan also received frequent coverage on all three major cable news networks during October, but dropped off with one notable exception, as explained by Media Matters.

Cable news coverage of the migrants dropped substantially on all three networks last week after a Trump superfan allegedly sent bombs to more than a dozen Democratic politicians and leaders as well as to CNN. But Fox’s coverage rebounded almost immediately, and coverage on the other networks has also ticked upwards over the past few days as Trump has continued to rant against the migrants, ordered U.S. military forces to the border in response, and called for the end of birthright citizenship.

(Melissa Joskow/Media Matters)
(Melissa Joskow/Media Matters)

Caravan conspiracy theories reportedly motivated Cesar Sayoc, who allegedly sent explosive devices to around a dozen prominent Democrats who are frequent targets of Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, and Robert Bowers, who murdered 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue last month.

MSNBC’s Garrett Haake said the caravan was a frequent topic of conversation among voters in Texas.

The media’s latest failure to accurately cover Trump’s lies drew comparisons to the 2016 presidential campaign, when the Times “ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails” in six days before that election “as they did about all the policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to” it, according to the Columbia Journalism Review.

The media’s ongoing struggles to deal with Trump’s propaganda did not go unnoticed by Twitter.