Reading the “fact-checkers” in the press sometimes triggers memories of the comic book hero Plastic Man, who could contort into all sorts of shapes. Take the Associated Press, and immigration reporter Elliot Spagat in San Diego.

The headline was “Fact Focus: Claims Biden administration is secretly flying migrants into the country are unfounded.” Spagat had to redefine all sorts of words like “secretly” to defend President Joe Biden’s fly-over-the-border policies.

The Spagat dispatch began: “In his Super Tuesday victory speech, former President Donald Trump elevated false information that had gone viral on social media, claiming the Biden administration secretly flew hundreds of thousands of migrants into the United States.”

AP noted that on Jan. 26, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (if you can call them that) reported “327,000 immigrants were vetted and authorized for travel.” The government flew in more than 67,000 Cubans, 126,000 Haitians, 53,000 Nicaraguans and 81,000 Venezuelans.

Trump said, “Today it was announced that 325,000 people were flown in from parts unknown — migrants were flown in airplanes, not going through borders … It was unbelievable.”

How was this false? Spagat elastically argued, “But migrants are not being flown into the U.S. randomly.” Trump never said “randomly,” or “secretly.” He said “parts unknown.”

Trump referred to an article by the Center for Immigration Studies, which AP calls a “group that advocates for immigration restrictions.” Todd Bensman of CIS found CBP’s migrants arrived at 43 airports, but the CBP refused to divulge which ones, using an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act for “law-enforcement sensitive information.”

But this doesn’t look like law enforcement. It looks like government-enabled illegal immigration.

You might think AP would loathe FOIA exemptions. But Biden critics aren’t allowed to say the government “secretly” flew them in, even though we don’t know where they flew in from, or where they landed. Spagat reported Bensman told him, “he doesn’t consider the program secretive, but finds it ‘enigmatic’ and ‘lacking transparency.'”

AP apparently doesn’t care much about a lack of transparency when they have Democrats to defend against the Orange Menace.

So here’s how AP’s Plastic Man “fact-checks” Trump: “The migrants are not coming in from ‘parts unknown,’ as Trump charged. CBP vets each one for eligibility and publishes the number of airport arrivals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.” Wait one doggone minute. On the CIS website, Bensman explained the “parts unknown” is defensible: The people eligible for this parole program have to be nationals of one of nine countries, “but can fly to the U.S. from anywhere.”

Bensman later revealed what Spagat emailed to him: “This is a fact check on Trump and [Elon] Musk, not on CIS’s report. … I know all too well that reporters can’t control how audiences interpret their work but want to ask if you wish to comment on whether Trump and Musk amplified your findings correctly.”

Bensman said he told Spagat he didn’t think Trump’s line “rose to an inaccuracy. Government ‘authorization’ of those flights should be enough to cover Trump’s statement that ‘migrants were flown in airplanes’ from ‘parts unknown’ because the government still won’t release to CIS the departure airports in foreign countries.”

Just for fun, I searched through years of the “Alejandro Mayorkas” tag at, looking for any fact-checking of Biden’s impeached Homeland Security Secretary. I found nothing, zero, zilch. But they leap on Trump for criticizing Biden.

Mayorkas can repeatedly utter the preposterous lie that “the border is secure” and the AP Fact Check squad waves him along, just like Mayorkas waves in hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants each year.

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


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