Angry Writer Misinterprets Trump’s Immigration Ban
Nobody should have been fooled. The intentions for the executive order, which placed a temporary ban on immigration to the United States, targeted Muslims. Even its legal jargon couldn’t hide its intentions.
During his candidacy, President Donald J. Trump mentioned he’d do it. And nearly everyone associated with him knew he’d do it. Even his ardent critics knew he was going to sign an anti-immigration ban aimed at refugees, immigrants, and visitors from seven predominately Muslim countries.
Nearly everyone in the country knew what the order meant! Well, almost everyone.
Despite this overwhelming evidence and sentiment, some people have stated that this isn’t a ban based on religious belief. In fact, one writer (on a particular content site) angrily attempted to convince his audience that the executive order wasn’t banning Muslims, at all.
Less than a week after the signing of the order – and after countless protests and detainments of travelers from the seven countries targeted by the order – the angry writer wanted his audience to know that the mandate was being marred by “stupid liberals” that wanted to whine about Trump being president, and really didn’t understand the executive order.
So was he (who will be known as Angry Writer throughout this article) correct? Did he know something that no one else did about the executive order? Or was he just trying in vain to defend the president and his controversial policies? Whatever the reason are, Angry Writer attacked the protesters and detractors through his writing.
Still, how accurate was he? To be succinct, he wasn’t. Instead, his article was a rant against ideological foes and was supported with “alternative facts” about the executive order’s purpose, data, and comparisons with the action of the previous president.
To start, Angry Writer most likely wanted to present a factual article. That, unfortunately, didn’t happen. His opinions about the dissenters and Trump got in the way. In fact, the writer’s attitude and blind devotion to Trump were apparent from the beginning until the merciful end.
His article was filled with pejorative landmines planted against anyone he felt criticized Trump. In particular, he aimed his anger at “liberals” and the “establishment media.” Every so often, he sprinkled insults, such as “peons” or used the word “liberal” as a derogatory term toward these two.
On top of that, Angry Writer used some deception. It started in the title. Most critics have used the title “Muslim Ban” to succinctly describe the temporary ban on Muslims coming from the seven countries. However, he may have deliberately or unintentionally took that title and turned it into a literal meaning to support his argument. Thus, he seemingly kept hitting his audience over the head with this rhetorical trick to give the impression that the critics were incorrect to call it a Muslim ban.
Reading this was cringe worthy and made the process slow. One had to wonder why he was so angry at these two groups, or if there was a reason, at all. (Ironically, another thing that made this article difficult to read was that it became an opinion piece filled with clichéd talking points and verbiage used by right-leaning pundits and ideologues. Reading stuff like this often becomes too dull and predictable).
At the heart of Angry Writer’s article were the claims. And, there were several made in this relatively short article. The main one dealt with the notion that the executive order was not a ban on Muslim. The others claimed President Obama did the same thing, and that data showed that it was not a ban. Do these claim hold muster? Let’s take look at these claims:
Claim #1: The executive order doesn’t mention “Muslim” in it; therefore it was not a Muslim ban.
The Reality: While it was true that the order doesn’t explicitly state it was a ban against Muslim from several countries, there were several references indicating that it was implicitly targeting this group. Angry Writer claimed he read and reread the order and didn’t find any reference to Muslims. He wasn’t looking hard enough.
The authors (since it’s obvious that more than one person wrote it) made veiled references to Muslims throughout it. Some were stereotypes; other reference came through a legal code from another document that was used as reference.
The first reference came in Section 1 of the order:
…In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress American of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.
This statement may sound like it’s protecting everyone’s civil liberties, but look closely at it. The terms “honor killings” and “violence against women” was included to the draft.
Honor killings and violence against women are terms often denoted to be a part of Islam (at least in Western cultures). It comes from a stereotype that Muslims justify murdering female members of the family that may (supposedly) dishonor the family in some way -- albeit being raped or engaging in premarital sex. The practice is not limited or exclusive to Islamic societies (and it may be more of a cultural practice done outside of religious beliefs); however, it’s a common stereotype many non-Muslims believe.
The second reference can be found in several sections as a particular legal code. Here’s an example from Section 3(c):
…I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187 (a) (12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and non-immigrant , of such person for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas)...
Section 217 (a) (12) is a legal code that’s part of the Immigration and Nationality Act. It pertains to the restriction of the use of the Visa Waiver Program. Most importantly, it contains the list of the seven countries that will be affected by the ban: Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Somalia. All these countries are predominately Muslim nations.
Finally, when looking at the document, one country of the seven was mentioned (Syria).
Anyone, including, Angry Writer, can take the information gathered in this article so far and dismiss it as pure conjecture. What can’t be dismissed however, are interviews and tweets from Trump and those that surround him.
In an interview on Fox TV former New York City mayor and ardent Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani bragged that he helped to write the executive order. He also boasted that he removed all references to Muslim (basically the name, Muslim) in the draft and replaced them with legal terms.
And, of course there are the numerous Tweets (and too many to keep count) in which Trump will state it’s not a ban one minute, then, unintentionally it is a ban (in other words, Trump can’t keep account of his own words/Tweets).
Claim #2: President Obama Did the Same Thing.
Reality: No, he didn’t. Obama’s action slowed down the immigration from Iraq by adding more vetting for the refugees, but it didn’t impose a ban on them. Also, it didn’t discriminate on grounds of religion, either. This claim has been debunked by fact-checking sites such as Politifacts and Snopes.com, as well as several other news outlets on TV, print and Internet.
Claim #3: Angry Writer wrote: “Out of 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, less than 200 million are affected by President Trump's executive order. This translates to eighty-seven percent of the global Muslim population not being inconvenienced whatsoever.”
Reality: The stat was true, but it actually had little to do with the ban. Up to this point, I’ve refrained from pointing out the logical fallacies that litter Angry Writer’s article. Claim#1 can be easily defined as an Ambiguity Fallacy. His personal attacks on liberals and media can be characterized as Ad Hominem arguments. However, in this case, one can’t ignore that this latest claim fits a fallacy known as Lying with Statistics. This particular fallacy is modern one and it plays on people’s ignorance on numbers and percentages. Usually Lying with Statistics is characterized by someone attempting to use true figures or data to “prove” an unrelated claim.
In this case, Angry Writer tried unsuccessfully to use stats representing the total population of Muslims in the world as a way to prove that the executive order wasn’t a ban on Muslim refugees. One can only surmise Angry Writer felt that only a small percentage of the Muslim population would be affected by the executive order; therefore, he argued that the executive order was not a ban on Muslim immigrants.
Angry Writer went off the rail near the end of the article. While the paragraph about the firing of the acting Attorney General Susan Yates for not following the executive order was relevant (despite being misleading – she was fired for adhering to court orders to suspend some of the order’s provisions – in which the Trump administration wanted to defy), he shifted toward warning his audience about Sharia Law, but not really elaborating what it was and the dangers he felt it would bring…except to repeat the verbiage from the executive order (mentioned in this article as Section 1) that mentioned violence against women and honor killings.
This inclusion makes one wonder: did he realize that he mentioned a section in the executive order that actually alluded to Muslim immigrants? Then again, one wonders if he used any common sense – the very thing he claimed that liberals didn’t use in understanding the executive order – when he made that inclusion.
By the time one got to the end, the interest and logic of the article quickly dived into a typical rant that political and ideological articles tend to do. The argument was too fallacious to be followed. In the end, he didn’t prove much, except that he doesn’t like liberal and that makes him angry.
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