Media

CBS Deleted Fact-Check On Sexual Assaults. Two Months Later, It’s Still MIA

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

CBS published and then deleted a fact-check of President Donald Trump’s claim that at least “one in three women” are sexually abused or assaulted during the dangerous journey to the U.S.-Mexico border within a larger report.

The president made the claim during an Oval Office address to the nation on Jan. 8, saying, “Women and children are the biggest victims, by far, of our broken system. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.”

CBS was just one of several outlets actively engaged in a live “fact-check” of Trump’s statements — but shortly after this particular fact-check was posted, it disappeared from the site. (RELATED: Media Struggles To Find Fibs In Trump’s Oval Office Address)

CLAIM: The president claimed one in three women have been sexually assaulted traveling to the border.

FACT CHECK: Between 60 percent and 80 percent of female migrants traveling through Mexico are raped along the way, Amnesty International estimates.

While the initial fact-check technically proved the president wrong — suggesting that he had underestimated the severity of the problem — it also lent credibility to his claim that the situation at the border amounted to a crisis.

CBS did not add an editor’s note or explanation for the removal of the deleted fact-check portion of their article.

Local residents walk along the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border on June 19, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico ... (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Local residents walk along the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border on June 19, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico … (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CNN published a similar fact-check that same day, citing Doctors Without Borders — “68.3 percent of migrants and refugees entering Mexico reported being victims of violence during their transit toward the United States'” — and argued that the potential danger of such violence was the reason so many women chose to travel with caravans.

Nearly two full months after Trump’s address, however, the New York Times published a report titled, “‘You Have to Pay With Your Body’: The Hidden Nightmare of Sexual Violence on the Border.”

In spite of ample evidence that many of the alleged assaults occurred at the hands of other migrants, coyotes, human traffickers and smugglers, the NYT appeared to lend equal focus to the cases in which the accused perpetrators were American law enforcement officials and Border Patrol agents.

Still, some journalists insisted that the president’s claim was a lie.

What they failed to realize was that none of the information being presented — either by Trump or the NYT — was exactly “new.”

In the weeks since the fact-check was deleted, CBS has addressed cases of sexual abuse among migrants — but only in relation to a recent Health andHuman Services report, which indicated that over 4500 migrants had alleged sexual abuse while in U.S. custody.

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