The caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the US-Mexico border saw a notable decrease in media coverage after the US midterm elections, according to a Quartz analysis.
Thousands of men, women, and children originated from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Oct. 13 of this year, heading north. After one month of traveling—mostly on foot and some by vehicles—a portion of the first migrants have made it to the US-Mexico border, where they plan to seek asylum in the US. Many of the migrants still remain in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, 800 miles (1,287 km) away.
In the weeks before the Nov. 6 midterm elections, US president Donald Trump presented the caravan as an imminent threat. On Nov. 1, Trump appeared in a live press conference announcing that the migrant’s “violence” would be met with the mobilization of American marines. Attention from Trump and other Republicans helped drive the media coverage of the caravan, and cable news and newspapers either repeated the calls of alarm, or sought to ease concerns, with the New York Times criticizing the President’s administration as a political strategy ahead of the elections.
As Trump’s attention was directed elsewhere after the election, so too was the media’s. An analysis of on-air use of the word “caravan” by three major cable news networks (MSNBC, CNN, and Fox) over the last month, reveal a significant drop in mentions after the US midterms.
A closer look at how the mentions breaks down show that the cable news cycle followed the same high and lows the weeks leading up to the midterm elections.
Meanwhile, newspaper and newswires saw a similar coverage pattern, falling less dramatically after US citizens took to the polls.
This week, with the first groups of migrants making it to Tijuana and the US fortifying their border wall with barbed wire, media coverage will likely increase. Don’t expect media coverage to taper off anytime soon. The majority of asylum seekers traveling on foot are still hundreds of miles away.