Reporter Ron Nixon woke up one morning this week to find that a story he had written over a month ago was trending. The article discussed how the Department of Health and Human Services had “lost track” of nearly 1,500 children placed with sponsors after showing up alone at the border. In other words, the government called to check in and no one picked up the phone. Given the incredible metabolic rate of our news cycle, you can expect few stories to resurface. So what happened? As Nixon discovered, “[his] story had been conflated” with the Trump Administration’s new policy that results in separating children from migrant parents crossing the border without authorization. Unsurprisingly, this draconian policy raised alarm across the media, and unexpectedly, Nixon’s story got caught up in the frenzy. The resulting narrative mistakenly attributed the 1,500 unaccounted children to the administration’s new policy, and soon #Wherearethechildren was trending on Twitter. To make things more confusing, President Trump chimed in, saying Democrats should “end the horrible law that separates children from there (sic) parents.” But wait, it’s not because of a law, but rather a policy advanced under his watch that results in such egregious circumstances, and while 1,500 is the wrong number, such separations are still likely occurring. Stay focused: the Trump Administration sows and exploits confusion.

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