On Saturday, CBS News posted a rather unusual story that seems to mollycoddle and glorify a group of individuals of a rather unique "profession": Human smugglers.
Per CBS News:
Along the Panama-Colombia border lies 60 miles of dense forest where smugglers known as coyotes guide migrants seeking passage north, for the right price.
Emerson Gonzalez Jimenez said he typically charges $700 to get people safely from Capurgana, Colombia, to Bajo Chiquito, Panama. He said he sometimes makes exceptions and lowers the cost, especially if he encounters migrants who were abandoned by their group. "Many get lost. They lose the path," said Gonzalez Jimenez.
"I helped a lot of people, particularly women with children," he said. "Because many have passed through here and not made it." ...
These hazards create an economic opportunity for men like Gonzalez Jimenez. ...
"Most people think we (smugglers) are bad," Gonzalez Jimenez said. "But if a person needs to go from there to here, and can't do it… and they tell me, 'I'm going to pay you five, 10, 20 dollars… to take me to whatever location.' And if I didn't have a job at the time… to me, that's good."
As The Daily Caller notes, many conservatives did not react particularly well to this bit of hard-cutting "journalism" — journalism that "tr[ies] to put a positive spin on the people who routinely endanger the lives of vulnerable illegal immigrants."
"Among liberal activists and their allies in the mainstream media, there’s a reluctance to acknowledge the darker side of the migrant crisis—or even admit that it’s a crisis at all," tweeted John Daniel Davidson of The Federalist. "Hence CBS's portrayal of two migrant smugglers as humanitarians."
"Finally lived long enough to get so hyper-woke about applauding illegal immigration that we got a sympathetic piece from the network news about how underappreciated human traffickers are," sarcastically tweeted Jeff Blehar.
Caleb Howe, writing at TheBlaze, opines that the backlash to CBS News amounts to "the internet mob get[ting] it right":
A backlash on social media isn't a reliable gauge of whether a person or story is correct or a take is good or bad, but sometimes even the internet mob gets it right. That is the case with the tremendous negative response to a story that was tweeted by CBS News over the weekend praising so-called "coyotes." ...
A 2010 report from the United Nations estimated the revenue generated by the network of coyotes smuggling people from Central and South America into the U.S. at about $6.6 billion, annually. Migrants hoping to make their way here can pay anywhere from $4,000 to over $10,000 dollars for the services of a coyote. That's per person. From within Mexico prices can be considerably less, as low as below a thousand.
Even without a criminal element to contend with, the "business" is incredibly risky. It involves paying bribes to government officials in multiple countries, paying off the drug cartels, hiding in safe houses, and arduous hiking through jungles, across open terrain, all the belongings you can carry on your back, and often with inadequate supplies.
As even The New York Times has reported, sexual assault from coyotes and traffickers is a huge humanitarian problem on the U.S.-Mexico border: "On America’s southern border, migrant women and girls are the victims of sexual assaults that most often go unreported, uninvestigated and unprosecuted. ... The stories are many, and yet all too similar. Undocumented women making their way into American border towns have been beaten for disobeying smugglers, impregnated by strangers, coerced into prostitution, shackled to beds and trees and — in at least a handful of cases — bound with duct tape, rope or handcuffs."
Someone ought to inform CBS News.