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Addressing Misinformation: Congressman Fry’s Claims on Migrants in Myrtle Beach

In a recent development that has caught the attention of the Horry County community, Congressman Russell Fry sent a letter on March 27 to Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Congressman Fry’s letter demanded information about allegations suggesting migrants were being “deposited” into Myrtle Beach hotels, a false claim that has since stirred considerable local and national debate.

The core of this controversy seems to trace back to a social media post, which purports that migrants living illegally in the U.S. have been transported to Myrtle Beach, their accommodations funded by taxpayer dollars. This assertion was based on an image showing individuals disembarking from a bus at a local hotel, sparking the speculation.

However, upon closer examination, the claims circulating on social media and echoed by Congressman Fry lack any verifiable evidence. Mark Kruea, a spokesperson for the City of Myrtle Beach, has unequivocally stated that there is no factual basis for these allegations. The city, aware of the rumors, has confirmed it is not involved in any activities related to relocating migrants illegally residing in the country. Furthermore, Kruea suggested that the photographed bus could simply be transporting participants to one of the many sporting events that the city hosts, a sector that generated $174 million in sports tourism last year.

ABC15 News also investigated the claims and found no proof to support the assertion that migrants are being flown or bused into Myrtle Beach under the circumstances described in social media posts and Congressman Fry’s letter.

Despite the lack of evidence, Congressman Fry’s letter not only perpetuated these unsubstantiated claims, but also criticized the Biden administration for what he described as the “nation’s worst migration crisis in U.S. history”. He insinuated that this alleged crisis has led to illegal immigrants making their way into the interior of the United States, including destinations as far removed from the southern border as Myrtle Beach.

It is crucial to highlight that Congressman Fry’s rise to office was marked by his exploitation of political divisions, succeeding Tom Rice, who was ousted by Republican voters for his principled stand against the violent insurrection attempt on our Capitol and for his impeachment vote against Donald Trump. This context underscores the ongoing political motivations behind Fry’s actions – characterized by allegiance to extreme partisan views rather than a commitment to factual discourse and leadership.

On the very same day that Fry sent his letter to Mayorkas, Michigan Representative Matt Maddock created an identical false claim by posting on X – mistakenly identifying college basketball players as “illegal invaders”. The incident occurred when Maddock observed buses at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, which he claimed were loading with “illegal invaders”. He shared images of the buses on social media questioning their destination with a police escort.

Contrary to Maddock’s assertion, airport officials clarified that the buses were actually transporting men’s basketball teams arriving for the Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament games at Little Caesars Arena. The Wayne County Airport Authority confirmed the teams’ arrival, stating that the buses seen in the photographs were for the athletes and their staff.

Sam Inglot, executive director of Progress Michigan, criticized Maddock for his “dangerous rhetoric” and misinformation. Inglot condemned the use of militaristic language against marginalized groups, warning of its potential to dehumanize and incite violence. He urged that such divisive and harmful rhetoric should not go unchecked.

As the general election approaches on November 5, 2024, with Democrats Daryl Scott and Mal Hyman challenging Fry, it is imperative for the voters of Horry County to scrutinize the information and rhetoric disseminated by their representatives.

The spreading of unfounded claims serves only to trick and misinform the public. It sows division within our community and ultimately at the polls.

In these times, when the truth is often overshadowed by misinformation, it is the responsibility of each citizen to seek out factual information and hold their elected officials accountable. Let us strive for a political landscape where integrity and truth prevail, fostering a more informed and united community in Horry County and beyond.

Analyzing the Misrepresentations: A Closer Look at Trump Republicans’ Claims on Immigration

The Myth of the “Open Border

Claim: Biden has purportedly created an “open border” and is indifferent to stemming illegal immigration.

Truth: Despite accusations, Republicans have actually been voting to cut Customs and Border Protection funding and have obstructed the passage of Biden’s $106 billion national security supplemental, which includes funds for border security.

The Drug Crisis and Illegal Immigration

Claim: The drug crisis, particularly involving fentanyl, is often blamed on illegal immigration.

Truth: Data shows that 90% of fentanyl entering the U.S. comes through official ports of entry, not by undocumented immigrants crossing the border. Research from the conservative Cato Institute indicates over 86% of individuals convicted for trafficking fentanyl in 2021 were U.S. citizens.

Undocumented Immigrants as Terrorists

Claim: There’s a narrative that undocumented immigrants pose a terrorist threat.

Truth: The terror watchlist does include known and suspected terrorists, but there’s no direct evidence to suggest that individuals crossing the border illegally are planning domestic terrorist attacks. The classification for inclusion on the list is broad and not exclusively linked to direct terrorism activities.

The Job Market and Undocumented Immigrants

Claim: Undocumented immigrants are accused of stealing jobs from American citizens.

Truth: Evidence demonstrates that immigrants generally do not take jobs desired by American workers, nor do they increase unemployment. In fact, unemployment rates have remained low, currently at 3.7%, significantly below the long-term average.

Crime Rates Among Undocumented Immigrants

Claim: There’s a belief that undocumented immigrants are responsible for a higher rate of crime in America.

Truth: Studies, including one cited by the Department of Justice and another in the American Economic Journal, have shown that undocumented immigrants have lower crime rates compared to native-born citizens and legal immigrants. Despite a recent increase in illegal immigration, the homicide rate in the U.S. has notably decreased by nearly 13% since 2022, with local law enforcement agencies reporting reductions in violent crime.

The Importance of Media Literacy

With today’s media outlets being heavily attacked by the Right, the sources from which we obtain our news can significantly influence our understanding of the world around us. Media outlets, particularly those owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, warrant closer scrutiny by Democratic viewers due to their alignment with more conservative news narratives. While not as overtly partisan as FOX News, Sinclair’s broadcast practices have raised concerns about the ideological tone of their content.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a dominant force in American telecommunications, owns or operates 193 stations across over 100 markets, effectively reaching 40% of American households. Despite its extensive reach, Sinclair has been criticized for its editorial practices. Research published in 2019 revealed that Sinclair-owned stations tend to reduce coverage of local politics, amplify national coverage, and shift the ideological tone of their content in a divisive conservative direction. Furthermore, Sinclair mandates its stations to air video segments and have news anchors read scripts that propagate pro-Trump editorial content and warnings about “fake news” in mainstream media.

In the Myrtle Beach market, WPDE News is owned by Sinclair, showcasing the conglomerate’s influence in local media. Conversely, WMBF and WBTW are owned by Gray Television, another major player in the broadcasting industry with a different ownership structure and possibly differing editorial policies. This distinction underscores the importance of media literacy and the need for viewers to critically evaluate the sources of their news.

Understanding the potential biases and motivations behind media content is crucial. Read beyond the “click-bait” headlines. Viewers should be vigilant, especially when consuming news that may seem one-sided or overly partisan. Fact-checking and consulting multiple news sources can help to ensure a well-rounded and accurate understanding of current events and issues.

In an era where misinformation can spread rapidly, it’s more important than ever to scrutinize the news we consume, particularly from outlets with known political leanings. Sinclair Broadcast Group’s editorial practices serve as a reminder that where we get our news matters significantly. As informed citizens, it’s our responsibility to seek truth and challenge narratives that may distort our perception of reality. Always fact-check news items and strive for a balanced consumption of information.

Utilizing resources such as AllSides, Media Bias/Fact Check, Snopes, and FactCheck.org not only swiftly debunks misinformation and evaluates the credibility of news sources – but also enhances comprehension of news balance. For instance, AllSides presents a unique feature by showcasing three perspectives—Left, Center, and Right—on any given news item, offering a broader, more nuanced view of the issue at hand.

Democratic Integrity Ahead of the 2024 Election

Within the current discourse on immigration, media bias, and the dissemination of misinformation – it is evident that the narratives propagated by certain political factions and media outlets require diligent scrutiny and fact-checking. The case of Congressman Russell Fry and the unfounded claims about migrants in Myrtle Beach underscores a broader strategy of MAGA misinformation and fear-mongering that seeks to divide and mislead the public. This incident, alongside the examination of Trump Republicans’ distorted claims on immigration among other topics, reveals a pattern of falsehoods designed to stoke xenophobia and partisan division.

Moreover, the role of media outlets, particularly those like Fox News, Newsmax, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, The Blaze, and countless others—are shaping public perception through skewed news coverage—calls for an increased awareness and critical evaluation of the sources from which we consume news. The importance of media literacy cannot be overstated, especially in an era where the truth is often clouded by partisan agendas.

As we approach the critical juncture of the general election on November 5, 2024, the responsibility falls on us, the electorate, to discern truth from falsehood, to challenge misleading narratives, and to uphold the values of democracy and integrity in public discourse. Voting out those who perpetuate lies and deceit from office is not just an act of civic duty but a necessary step toward restoring faith in our democratic institutions and ensuring that our leaders represent the best of our values, not the worst of our fears. To achieve this, supporting candidates who stand for truth, transparency, and accountability – such as the Democratic contenders Daryl Scott and Mal Hyman – is imperative. Their commitment to factual discourse and the public interest stands in stark contrast to the divisive and misleading tactics employed by their opponents.

Let this be a call to action for all who value democracy and truth: to engage critically with the news we consume, to hold our elected officials accountable, and most importantly, to exercise our right to vote with the knowledge and discernment that the future of our community and country depends on it. The path to a more informed, united, and democratic society is through the ballot box, and every vote cast against misinformation and for truth is a step in the right direction.

Vote Democrat for integrity, transparency, and a commitment to the truth!

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