WashPost Lies about COVID Infections, Omits Illegal Immigration Completely

They actually use this photo in the WashPost story that overlooks illegal immigration.

  • Article only mentions migrants who were apprehended, assumes 100% of all border crossings are done legally
  • Picture in the article amusingly portrays an illegal immigration, debunking their own story
  • Post analysis by Phil Bump contains all sorts of racial statements unsupported by facts but firmly held left-wing memes
  • Bump contradicts himself repeatedly and then lashes out at supposed critics
  • Bump has a chronic credibility problem, errors, lies and omissions keep getting caught and tolerated by Bezos’ Post

OUR RATING: #FakeNews. This is what you’d expect on CNN playing to an empty airport.

Indicted Outlet: Philip Bump | The Washington Post | Link | Archive | 8/6/21

Philip Bump at the Washington Post offers some very dishonest analysis about the various COVID outbreaks around the country, where he disputes that they have anything to do with the record number of immigrants coming into the country. 

Bump claims that there’s nothing to those theories of COVID spread because all the spreaders are white Republicans, and all migrants are being screened by federal authorities. The flaw in his thinking is that he forgets about this concept of ‘illegal immigration’ where people come to America without following the rules, checking in with federal authorities, and filling out the right paperwork and getting tested. 

A Washington Post reporter getting a story wrong is common enough that it’s not really that newsworthy, but Bump’s arrogance is so off the charts that it makes fact checking him that much more rewarding.[1]

Major Violations:

  • Unbalanced
  • Partisan
  • Missing Context
  • Misrepresentation
  • Opinion as Fact
  • Superficial Investigation
  • Lying Headline
  • Scapegoating
  • Double Standards
  • Smearing
  • Statistics Abuse

Here is Bump’s headline: “Why we can be confident that the surge in coronavirus cases isn’t the fault of immigrants”

Now, for starters, who is “we”? The entire framing of the headline, and by implication the article, is that Bump has some position of authority over “we.” It’s a peculiar stylistic thing for media outlets to try and speak for all of society, rather than just report their analysis and report honestly. 

Why not write: “Coronavirus Cases Not the Fault of Immigrants” or “Immigrants not to blame for Coronavirus Spread” – that communicates the same idea, but it precludes Bump from trying to speak for the hivemind. 

Bump quotes Hannity and Cruz, but their statements aren’t blaming immigrants for the spread of COVID, they are pointing out the hypocrisy of the government shutting down the economy to stop COVID while also permitting illegal immigrants who test positive for COVID to enter the country. This is when you realize Bump’s dishonesty in creating a straw man for himself to knock down: he’s claiming that Cruz and Hannity were blaming every COVID case on immigrants, when they were instead blaming some of the spread on this case of obvious government negligence.

Accuracy and truth have a tendency not to fit the ideological dictates of partisans. It’s unbalanced to say that COVID-positive immigrants have done nothing to spread the virus in America. But yet that’s precisely what Bump says. 

“Sean [Hannity] was not exactly right. He was not even partially right.”

Bump is referencing Hannity’s statement that the federal government’s release of 7,000 COVID-positive illegal immigrants was a ‘superspreader’ event.

Here’s how ‘superspreader’ is defined: an individual who is highly contagious and capable of transmitting a communicable disease to an unusually large number of uninfected individuals. [2

Bump claims this is not true because 40% of migrants apprehended by Border Patrol were apprehended within the past 12 months, claiming that they were expelled and not out spreading the virus around America. 

​​if 4-in-10 apprehensions were of people who were apprehended at some point in the preceding 12 months and expelled from the country, that means that they weren’t walking around the United States spreading the coronavirus.

But whether 40% are re-apprehensions or not is no indication of whether they were spreading COVID around America. If they were apprehended, left, re-entered the country, and happened to get caught again at the border for whatever reason, there’s no way of telling where they were for the 12 months prior. This is an irrelevant fact that Bump thinks is important and it’s not.

The other critical missing context that Bump is conspicuously avoiding is that the federal government publishes the number of deportations every year. In all of 2020, the federal government deported 185,884 people. [3]

Bump admits that in June alone, Border Patrol apprehended 178,000 people. Meaning that the numbers of total deportations in all of 2020 and the number of people apprehended in just June of 2021 is roughly equal. Bump is engaged in statistics abuse in order to downplay the threat of immigrant COVID spread. The surge of immigration at the border, legal and illegal, when 20% of immigrants are testing positive for COVID, is a real very concern.

BUMP CLAIM RATED FALSE: There’s no reason immigrants are of concern since 40% are being re-apprehended.

Leftist individuals have a documented tendency to think in emotional terms, not rational ones, and concurrent with that is the tendency to think in collective terms and not as individuals. [4] So when a media outlet uses collective language it’s a manipulative form of signalling to left-wing individuals that they should agree without thinking.

One enormous problem in Bump’s entire analysis is his use of the word “migrant” as opposed to immigrant or the more loaded, ‘illegal immigrant.’ 

Let’s define migrant: a person who moves regularly in order to find work especially in harvesting crops. [5

Let’s define immigrant: a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence. [6

Let’s define illegal immigrant: a foreign person who is living in a country without having official permission to live there. [7

So Bump is only writing in his article about migrants, people regularly moving around for work. How many of those crossing the border are actually migrants?

Border Patrol says they stopped more than 188,000 immigrants trying to cross the southern U.S. border in June 2021. [8

What is the ratio for estimates of how many border crossers are stopped versus how many enter the country illegally and aren’t stopped?

Surely Bump doesn’t think that we have 100% border security where border patrol agents are able to successfully intercept every single case of illegal immigration?

In fact, Politifact wrote a nice rundown of how difficult it is even to generate an estimate of how many apprehensions are made at the border. Estimates range widely even during times with much less border crossings, and those numbers are, by some experts, 20-35%, with some saying that historically the number has never been higher than 40%. [9

That means that if Border Patrol stopped 188,000 immigrants in June 2021, assuming a 40% capture rate, then they likely missed 282,000 illegal immigrants completely when they crossed in the same month. None of those people were tested. 

18-20% of illegal immigrants are currently testing positive for COVID. [10][11][12]

So that means that there are a documented 7,000 COVID-positive migrants who are being released since February, people who were caught and tested and then released into America. [13][14]

But Bump and others are willfully ignoring that those same statistics, assuming the Border Patrol catches 40% of those trying to enter the United States, means a likely 56,400 COVID positive illegal immigrants weren’t caught in June 2021. These are illegal immigrants who weren’t tested, and were COVID positive and entered America in just one month. 

By comparison, in June 2021, the US was averaging roughly 10,000 new COVID cases per day. [15] So illegal immigration as a sole factor was at least 17% of the new cases of COVID if these numbers are anywhere near to accurate.

Bump’s analysis at the Washington Post is to completely ignore the issue of illegal immigrants who were not caught altogether. 

Before Bump even explains his opponents, he assigns nothing but bad faith to their motives. 

Before I explain why, it’s worth considering why Hannity and Cruz are making the claim. There’s a long history of scapegoating immigrants as vectors for disease. 

Bump is smearing his opponents with accusations of racism before he even begins.

He then makes his scapegoating and partisan agenda pretty plain:

In case Hannity’s unsubtle presentation didn’t make this clear, it’s politically useful for the right to blame the pandemic on migrants (as has happened repeatedly) in part because it shifts blame directly onto President Biden and in part because it specifically shifts blame away from the unvaccinated — a group that is mostly made up of Republicans, according to Kaiser Family Foundation polling.

Hilariously, when you click the source for his claim about ‘mostly made up of Republicans’ the citation that Bump cites to is… Philip Bump. [16] The citation engages in some of the most serious abuse of statistics possible. 

Bump wants to blame white conservative Christians for the spread of COVID, so he is twisting every statistic possible to absolve illegal immigrants and blacks who are being vaccinated at significantly lower rates than whites.

Bump will reluctantly admit that black vaccination rates are only 35% as compared to 50% among whites, but then points to polling data on viewpoints about the vaccine to show that blacks actually tell pollsters they look forward to getting vaccinated more than whites do. 

Let’s be real clear here that he’s purposefully comparing two unequal things: actual vaccination rates by demographics, against the polling results of how people feel about the vaccine. 

He conflates the two numbers assuming, I suppose, no one will notice his sleight of hand and obvious dishonesty. To be very clear: he’s comparing actual vaccination status to polling about perception by race. That’s not a proper comparison of like-minded things. Even Bump agrees that certain groups may over or under report their vaccination status for a variety of social reasons. 

And it’s one thing to make mistakes like this, but to do so when one is so arrogant and so vicious in their public discourse, assigning nothing but the worst of motives to your opponents, reveals something deeper about Bump’s overall character. 

You can even see in his final analysis here that he tries to make excuses for why blacks are unvaccinated, which they may have good reasons, totally valid reasons, but it doesn’t change the simple fact whether they represent a significant source of vaccine resistance. That’s certainly relevant to the overall story of vaccine resistance and it’s only muddied by Bump’s attempt to say that statistically there are a lot of Republicans and not as many blacks on the whole, which may be true but is otherwise irrelevant.

Again just to be very clear here, Bump’s argument is that the 15% difference in vaccinations between whites and blacks doesn’t matter because blacks are only about 12% of the population and there are many more Republicans, meaning that there are 25% as many unvaccinated blacks as there are unvaccinated Republicans. And thus he then tells us that therefore those black lives don’t matter. 

I feel like I’ve been told that those black lives do indeed matter for the past two years somewhere.

What’s amazing is that as Bump dissembles and equivocates, invents objections, says blacks are more likely to lie about not being vaccinated, and then blames their low vaccination rates on black poverty, he then complains about his imaginary opponents’ lack of ‘intellectual vigor.’ [17

You just can’t make this stuff up. It’s so clear that Bump shouldn’t be trusted on any issue intersecting with race.

BUMP CLAIM RATED FALSE: Blacks are not a significant source of vaccine resistance.

The largest group of vaccine resisters are actually non-partisan independents. [18

A sober analysis of recent Kaiser survey data on vaccine resistance actually provides some interesting insights that go against the dishonest narrative frame that Bump tries to push on readers. It shows that the actual vaccine resisters are probably made up of political independents who are non-voters and otherwise detached from media and the political system. They’re probably at least partially detached from the political process because of irrational hyperpartisanship from people like Philip Bump.

A look at the data reveals that the vaccine hesitant group, however, are not big Trump lovers. They’re actually likely not to be Republican. Instead, many of them are people who are detached from the political process and didn’t vote for either major candidate in 2020.

The most recent Kaiser poll helps illustrate that the vaccine hesitant group doesn’t really lean Republican. Just 20% of the group called themselves Republican with an additional 19% being independents who leaned Republican. The clear majority (61%) were not Republicans (41% said they were Democrats or Democratic leaning independents and 20% were either pure independents or undesignated). [19]

BUMP CLAIM RATED FALSE: The unvaccinated is a group mostly made up of Republicans.

Newsbusters did a great write up on Philip Bump’s lies when it came to Trump’s statement that Democrats run the most dangerous cities in America. [20] It’s hard to understand what Bump’s point was in trying to refute Trump. He said it was false, and then said it didn’t matter, and then tried to say the fact it was literally true didn’t matter, and then he deleted the tweet. 

That’s a pretty good sign of hyperpartisanship. Bump makes a disparaging partisan remark, is wrong on the facts, doubles-down on his error, argues semantics, and then runs and hides. 

That’s not the mark of an honest journalist. It’s hard trying to imagine Edward R. Murrow or Mike Wallace or Walter Cronkite saying things this obviously stupid, or referring to their opponents as “legions of bozos”, and then being so arrogant as to not just admit their error and move on, and certainly not that they would delete the evidence of their error hoping it would just vanish.

Bump has had a long history where his credibility on major stories has been in question. [21

One starts to notice that Bump has the credibility pattern of major governments, multinational corporations, and those with the family name Clinton.

Bump treats certain racial groups as unthinking blocs of people: blacks, hispanics, but whites he confers the agency of having subcategories underneath. There’s no such thing as a conservative hispanic or a freethinking black, he just sees them as solid blue constituencies whom he understands as one solid archetype. To give him some charity, it’s likely this is a reflection of hyperpartisanship within Buck more than it is negative feelings towards those groups: you can see in his writing that he can’t wait to identify the bad guy, in his case almost always conservative whites, and then rally all his blue troops to focus their political fire on the enemy. He wants to be the rhetorical general leading an army of leftist whites, blacks, hispanics to slaughter his foes.

That kind of thinking is pretty reductionist in taking every individual within those categories down to their race and making broad stereotypes. 

Vaccine resistance is almost unquestionable when it comes to blacks because of the “Tuskegee Experiments” yet that was a long time ago, and how many modern day black vaccine resisters are doing so because of such a nuanced view of history and how many are just naturally skeptical of Washington DC? No one bothers to ask because no one at the Washington Post really cares about what black people think: they just want to appropriate their collective political power against the enemy of the moment: white conservative vaccine resistance. 

Here’s a Daily Beast article whose headline sums it up well: “Forget Black Vaccine Hesitancy – worry about White Resistance” [22]  

Leftist reporters love reducing black political opinions down to one word, a simple idea: Tuskegee. There’s no chance for nuance, varying opinions, gradations of views, it’s all just one reflexive voting bloc. 

So when blacks have lower vaccinations than whites, that is tolerated and excused. When whites have higher vaccination rates against other racial groups in America, that is scrutinized to identify the exact source of the perceived resistance. Blacks are given a paternalistic pass, but whites are given a lot of scrutiny as to their reasons. On some level that’s a recognition that they don’t care about black reasons but will ignore it for the moment, and they want to engage and argue with white reasons. 

The media mindset that rules our elites makes them interested in the black community only insofar as to generate a daily pro-hip hop piece on National Public Radio. Any more than that, and they find it a distraction to otherwise leftist white bourgeoisie concerns. You’ll notice they never portray black Americans who might disagree with one another, or who might have two opposed sides to the same political question. They present and provide no nuance, no sophistication, only people with dark pigment who hue the party line. Whites are resisting, but blacks are merely hesitant because their leftist overlords haven’t yet told them what to think.

It’s all pretty gauche, made even more so by the fact they’re all so un-self-aware about it. 

Philip Bump and his Washington Post analysis is pure partisan sophistry. Thus he’s a good fit at the Post.

OUR RATING: #FakeNews. This is what you’d expect on CNN playing to an empty airport.

1 ] https://twitter.com/pbump

2 ] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/super-spreader

3 ] https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2020/12/23/ice-deportations-and-arrests-plummeted-in-2020-heres-why/?sh=279911e926a7 

4 ] https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307377903/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thehappinessh-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0307377903

5 ] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/migrant

6 ] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/immigrant

7 ] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illegal%20alien/immigrant

8 ] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/number-attempted-crossings-southern-u-s-border-hits-21-year-n1274230

9 ] https://www.politifact.com/article/2019/jan/11/does-border-patrol-catch-90-percent-immigrants-cro/

10 ] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/18-percent-migrant-families-leaving-border-patrol-custody-tested-positive-n1276244

11 ] https://americanmilitarynews.com/2021/08/18-20-of-illegal-immigrant-coming-into-us-have-covid-19-report-says/

12 ] https://nypost.com/2021/08/04/thousands-of-covid-positive-migrants-pass-through-texas-border/
13 ] https://www.immigrationreform.com/2021/08/06/covid-positive-migrants-into-us-immigrationreform-com/

14 ] https://www.foxnews.com/politics/texas-border-city-covid-positive-migrants-released-february-last-week

15 ] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases.html

16 ] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/04/what-about-black-people-defense-republican-vaccine-hesitancy/

17 ] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/04/what-about-black-people-defense-republican-vaccine-hesitancy/

18 ] https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2021/07/19/another-media-narrative-on-covid-vaccine-hesitancy-has-been-torched-n2592726

19 ] https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/09/politics/vaccine-hesitant-analysis/index.html

20 ] https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tim-graham/2020/06/28/philip-bump-thinks-hes-smart-so-why-did-he-write

21 ] https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2015/12/10/fact-check-the-washington-posts-philip-bump-has-a-credibility-problem/

22 ] ​​https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/forget-black-vaccine-hesitancy%E2%80%94worry-about-white-resistance/ar-BB1eKYyY

Join the conversation

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.