Controversy over a photo of border patrol agents chasing down migrants has led to a New York Times correction.
National media attention was drawn to an Associated Press photo of agents on horseback. In the photo the reins were interpreted by some accusers as whips being used against migrants.
The media and some lawmakers took this narrative and ran with it. Even Department of Homeland Security head Alejandro Mayorkas said he was “horrified” by the images.
“DHS does not tolerate the abuse of migrants in our custody and we take these allegations very seriously,” the agency said on Twitter, also announcing an investigation. “We are committed to processing migrants in a safe, orderly, and humane way. We can and must do this in a way that ensures the safety and dignity of migrants.”
Shortly there after, the photographer involved, Paul Ratje, said he didn’t see whips being used on anyone.
“I’ve never seen them whip anyone,” Ratje said. “He was swinging it … but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”
Even the New York Times issued a correction for jumping to such a conclusion.
“An earlier version of this article overstated what is known about the behavior of some Border Patrol agents on horseback,” the correction read. “While the agents waved their reins while pushing migrants back into the Rio Grande, The Times has not seen conclusive evidence that migrants were struck with the reins.”
Original:”The images of agents on horseback chasing, & in some cases using the reins of their horses to strike at running migrants…”
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) September 27, 2021
The mistaken reporting by the media was criticized by many on the right.
“Joe Biden and his administration have condemned Border Patrol agents managing their catastrophic crisis more than they’ve condemned thousands of illegal immigrants breaking the law,” said author Katie Pavlich.