There’s power in a headline. Especially if people only read the headline and not the story, which is what it seems some mainstream media organizations count on.
On Thursday, NBC News posted a tweet that read, “EXCLUSIVE: DHS test of steel prototype for border wall, Trump's preference, showed it could be sawed through. We've obtained a never-before-seen photo.”
It included a photo of a sliced-through section of border fence and a link to the story entitled, “Steel prototype for border wall cut through with saw, photo shows.”
The tweet fueled ridicule on Thursday aimed at Trump’s wall because it appeared to show how weak the proposed steel wall will actually be. In fact, in a separate tweet, reporter Jacob Soboroff even claimed that the wall could be “cut through with a household saw,” evoking images of someone slicing through it in ten minutes with a hacksaw.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) certainly fell for it, writing on Twitter, “The wall is 1st century technology. The below is what can happen when you use 1st century technology in the 21st century. Democrats support border security. That's why we oppose the wall across the border. It is inefficient and makes us less safe.”
Even the text at the beginning of the story seemed to suggest that the steel wall could be easily cut through.
“President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated for a steel slat design for his border wall, which he described as ‘absolutely critical to border security’ in his Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday. But Department of Homeland Security testing of a steel slat prototype proved it could be cut through with a saw, according to a report by DHS,” reporters Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley wrote.
It really makes this huge, expensive wall President Trump is trying to fund seem pretty ineffective. But you have to read ten more paragraphs down to actually find the truth behind the photo that NBC News obtained.
Department of Homeland Security Spokeswoman Katie Waldman explained, "The steel bollard design is internally reinforced with materials that require time and multiple industrial tools to breach, thereby providing U.S. Border Patrol agents additional response time to affect a successful law enforcement resolution. In the event that one of the steel bollards becomes damaged, it is quick and cost-effective to repair.”
She added, "The professionals on the border know that a wall system is intended not only to prevent entry, it is intended to defer and to increase the amount of time and effort it takes for one to enter so that we can respond with limited border patrol agents. Even a wall that is being breached is a valuable tool in that it allows us to respond to the attempted illegal entry."
So, in other words, nothing is impenetrable, but this wall will take so long to get through that it’ll give Border Patrol agents plenty of time to respond. You can’t simply walk up to it with some hand tools and slice your way through in a jiffy.
Twitter users were quick to point that out, too, and tore NBC News to shreds on their replies: