Bias in the News: Myths about the "Migrant Caravan"

As a group of asylum seekers from Honduras heads closer towards the U.S., various posts and articles about them have been widely circulating on social media. Some posts paint these migrants as dangerous, such as carrying infectious diseases and/or engaging in violence along their journey. However, rather than passively absorbing any information that come across our screens, we must become critical consumers. With the abundance of information available on the internet that can come from anyone and anywhere, we must consistently check our sources of information. Whenever I read a post or an article, I always like to ask myself: what are the motivations of the author, and how is the evidence obtained?

Being a critical consumer of information is especially pertinent for topics that are emotionally charged, such as immigration in the U.S. This New York Times article (Roose, 2018) serves as a reminder to be cautious of biases and prejudices that may skew the presentation of information. The article debunks some of the myths surrounding the “migrant caravan” that have been popularized via social media. For example, images of violence taken from other events have been “mislabeled” or wrongly associated with migrants, possibly to incite fear. Importantly, the consequences of misinformation could severely impact people’s lives. In turn, we must take it upon ourselves to examine the information we are consuming and distributing and strive to seek out multiple perspectives on the scenario.

Emily Chu