Through The Wall

Date updated: November 25, 2019 [Up]
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This is shared with you with the note "They literally drove a truck through the wall. Can we end this idea it makes us more secure?

The first thing I usually do is set in my mind -- in a few seconds -- what is the *point* of this tweet? What's the underlying narrative this is being used to support?

Nothing too fancy. In this case the narrative is "Trump's new wall doesn't work."

We click through to the quoted tweet.

Then we click through to the NY Daily News. I could go two directions here -- If I think this might be satire or fake I would check the source first. I might also check the claim, by doing a Google News Search.

In this case, I happen to know that NY Daily News is a source that's a bit tabloidy but not fake, So we're going to go see this in context.

So initially it looks good. It really happened, and the source for that information is federal agents.

But remember we have to hold on to the narrative -- in this case that this shows that President Trump's wall is a security failure.

The problem? This isn't Trump's wall. It's part of the old existing wall/fencing. You see here that it was an old section of fencing, not Trump's wall at all.

Maybe the story shows that walls aren't great border protection. Maybe it shows that a new wall/fence is needed. But it doesn't show anything specifically about the effectiveness of Trump's planned wall.

In fact, some people are arguing that this shows the need for a newer wall/fencing.

It's important to note that the idea here is not "the wall is therefore good" or "the wall is therefore bad." Many people have moral reasons that they oppose a wall, and it is possible that a new wall would do no better.

But you can make your point on things that actually relate to these issues, rather than bending the truth.

Additional Notes

The story here is a version of "51-foot ladder" a common trope underlying viral media.

The error here is related to the use of outdated articles when used in an inappropriate context. See also The Case of the Outdated Article.