For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross Posting
Friday, July 20th, 2018
Contact: Armando Carmona, 323-250-3018;

Houston Chronicle: Fearmongoring on MS-13 Resembles Embarrassing “Summer of the Shark”

Nationwide – When politicians use sensationalism and fear-mongering to engage their base of supporters it is worrisome and irresponsible, but when the media simply regurgitates and uncritically amplifies those statements it is dangerous.

On Friday morning, The Editorial Board for the Houston Chronicle issued a powerful editorial titled: “Fearmongoring on MS-13 Resembles Embarrassing “Summer of the Shark” informing us on the dangers of sensationalism and giving as prime example the immense and baseless Pre- 9/11 coverage highlighting the “dangers” of sharks:

In the months before the 9/11 terrorist attack, Time Magazine ran a shocking front-page story alerting Americans to a growing threat waiting just off our shores, ready to strike without hesitation or moral qualm: sharks!

“The “Summer of the Shark,” as it is now known, was an embarrassing frenzy of sensationalist coverage spawned not by any uptick in the amount of deadly beach encounters — the number of attacks was less than the previous year — but instead by a single 8-year-old boy losing his arm to a bull shark over the Fourth of July weekend.”

“The isolated tragedy was effective at creating a nationwide scare, but it didn’t necessarily mean the world was anymore dangerous. Take that lesson to heart whenever you hear the president talk about MS-13.”

“Earlier this year, Sgt. Clint Ponder, of the Houston Police Department’s gang division, told Chronicle reporter Robert Downen that fears of gang violence are “absolutely” exaggerated.”

“Even by standards of other gangs, the threat of MS-13 is overblown.”

“Last month, the Trump administration proposed a plan to divert $77 million from the U.S. Coast Guard to pay for border enforcement despite the fact that undocumented crossings are far below their mid-2000s peak and immigration with Mexico, legal or otherwise, is net negative. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services has diverted $40 million over the past two months to care for and reunify migrant children separated from their families, including $17 million from a program dedicated to fighting AIDS. Housing costs alone are $1.5 million per day.”

Click here to read the full editorial.

Pablo Alvarado, Director of NDLON issued the following Statement:

“We are grateful to those in the media who are identifying and denouncing the racist scapegoating of Central Americans. Everyone— whether immigrant or citizen, Republican or Democrat—  feels a sense of insecurity at this moment.  And in some sense, the common battle we all are fighting is between courage and fear.   There is nothing more despicable than the manipulation of fear for political purposes, and a new consensus needs to be built around this shared belief.    Ironically, immigrants, particularly those from Central America, have the courage that President Trump lacks. That is why he attacks us.”