(CNSNews.com) - "I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border. Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern," President Trump tweeted on Monday afternoon.
By Tuesday morning, Trump's most dedicated media critics were urging news networks not to carry Trump's address, because he'll simply be spreading "a steady stream of lies."
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" led the pack Tuesday morning, arguing that the Trump administration is spreading false data about the threat of terrorism to create the impression that there is a crisis at the Southern border, which can be solved only with a wall.
There is no crisis, insisted "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski, as she implored the networks not to carry Trump's "lies."
One of the most time-honored and powerful ways a president has to communicate with the American people is through a prime-time Oval Office address -- the majesty of the setting, the request for the valuable television time, network TV time, with the ability to capture the focus of the people of the United States -- you know, maybe a signal to the country that says this is something of national importance; as your president, I need to communicate with my fellow citizens our shared challenges and how we're going to meet them together.
We've seen that before. Done right, a night-time Oval Office address can unite the country in trying times; it can inspire the better angels in ourselves.
But all the signs here indicate that is not what Donald Trump has in mind. And the networks have a decision to make. Do they want to run the promise of more lies, more misleading statistics, more twisting of reality, mindless confrontation, all for the sake of defending Trump's dark, twisted fantasy of a wall on the Mexican border to fight an enemy that doesn't exist, except in the most fevered swamps of American politics -- do they want to do that for ratings?
Like they've done with other presidents in other times, the networks should refuse to turn over the airwaves to Donald Trump tonight for what they know, objectively, to be a steady stream of lies. Maybe that will stop him from debasing yet another one of our historic, solemn and cherished presidential traditions. They shouldn't run it, not on the main networks.
“You know, it's a powerful argument, Mika, and I think a lot of people probably agree with you," Brzezinski's co-host and husband Joe Scarborough said.
Scarborough noted that the networks didn't run one of Barack Obama's speeches on immigration in 2014, deeming it to be too political. "What in the world would be their justification for running it tonight, when they know that objectively, by the numbers, by the data, Donald Trump is going to go on TV tonight and he is going to lie about an imaginary crisis at the southern border?" Scarborough asked.
The White House on Monday posted a report compiled by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen attempting to separate “myth” from “fact” when it comes to the number of terrorists trying to sneak into the country.
Bottom line, most terror-watchlisted foreigners, called “Known or Suspected Terrorists,” or KSTs, try to come into the U.S. by air. According to DHS, in Fiscal Year 2017, “3,755 known or suspected terrorists were prevented from traveling to or entering the United States,” mostly at airports.
However, as the report notes, “others are encountered arriving by land and through maritime routes—and have been encountered attempting to enter the country through the Southern Border.”
“The threat is real,” the report says. “The number of terror-watchlisted individuals encountered at our Southern Border has increased over the last two years. The exact number is sensitive and details about these cases are extremely sensitive. But I am sure all Americans would agree that even one terrorist reaching our borders is one too many.”
DHS said it encountered “more than 3,000 Special Interest Aliens,” or SIAs – a separate category from Known or Suspected Terrorists -- at the southern border in FY 2017.
“Often these are individuals who have obtained false documents, or used smugglers to evade security across multiple countries. In addition, some have engaged in criminal activity that could pose a danger to the United States, and some are found to have links to terrorism after additional investigative work and analysis by CBP personnel.”
DHS notes that KSTs and SIAs “are not the same and should not be conflated.”
“The bottom line is that significant numbers of threat actors have attempted, and continue to attempt, to enter the United States surreptitiously and without authority. DHS and other national security agencies remain concerned about the volume of terrorist-watchlisted individuals, SIAs, convicted criminals, gang members, and others who pose a threat to the homeland, attempting to enter the United States. And we will take all appropriate action to legally block their entry.”