Morning Update: How The News Works Now

The heartbreaking case of the 3-year-old boy in immigration court, and more stories from the border. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, June 25.

Are there new rules?

I’m Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, hoping I can live up to the high standard that Elamin has set for this newsletter.

And I’m glad to have the space today to tell you a little about one of the hardest parts of running a newsroom in this new era in history and in media. That is: deciding which of the old rules — like treating the president’s comments as, probably, true — apply. Which don’t? How do we stay fair, and neutral, and honest with you, without slipping into the old trap of painting every dispute as an argument with two equal sides?

I think we — and most of the US media — did a pretty good job last week. Our reporters bore witness to stories like an immigration judge’s heartbreaking interrogation of a 3-year old named Roger — and they were unafraid to call an official lie a lie.

Sometimes the old habits creep in. One legacy publication took some well-deserved flak for wringing its hands about a new crisis of civility because people were using some very mean words about the policy of separating families and the people instituting it. And Fox News, at its worst, did its best to explain why punishing immigrant children is a good idea — until Trump changed his mind and Fox, magically, did too.

We do our best to call it straight, and to tell you what we know — and what we don’t. The White House would now like to make this fight about us, the media, particularly about a widely circulated image of a crying girl who some news outlets said, or implied, had been separated from her mother. We wrote about the girl and the wrenching image, and talked to the photographer at the time. She’s currently in a “holding facility” in Dilley, Texas, with her mom. We’ll keep you up to date on her story — and try to keep our focus on the story, not the shouting matches on cable news and Twitter.

If you’ve got any thoughts on how we could do better, you can email me at Thanks for putting up with me while your regular newsletter correspondent, Elamin, perfects his selfie game.


A Trump administration official said Friday said that the US Customs and Border Protection had reunited roughly 500 of more than 2,300 children separated from their families after crossing the southern border illegally. However, a small number of children who were separated for reasons other than Trump's zero tolerance policy will remain apart from the adults they entered the US with.

Migrant parents, in their own words, told a judge what it’s like being split from their kids. “Not knowing anything about my daughter is torture. I am not able to sleep. I desperately want to be with her,” one father wrote. BuzzFeed News went to the border to meet the countless families waiting an uncertain fate. Here’s what we saw.

Meanwhile, Lena Dunham, Amber Heard, and a crew of other Hollywood celebs attended a protest outside a child detention facility. And Here’s the day-by-day breakdown of what actually happened in immigration last week.


For those long road trips or rainy nights in, these are the podcasts you should be listening to this summer. Bonus: The News is the ideal podcast to play when you’re coming back to real life after a long weekend or vacation and want to get caught up. Find it on Apple, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.


The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that a warrant is generally required for police to obtain historical records of a person's cell-site records, a victory for privacy advocates.

Facebook hired a team of ex-intelligence officers, researchers, and media buyers to pressure-test its products in an attempt to spot vulnerabilities in its system before bad actors exploit them.

New Jersey has banned child marriage without exceptions. It’s still legal in 48 other states — and activists want to know why.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant in Virginia on Friday night and people are yelling about it.

The US Open will change the way it seeds female players returning from pregnancy during the upcoming tournament as part of a move that could be a potential boon for Serena Williams. “It’s OK to go out and be a woman and become a mother and then come back to your job,” said the head of the US Tennis Association.

Turkey’s longest-serving leader in the country's modern history, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was reelected president on Sunday. Here’s why the snap election was less boring than excepted. Hint: It involves cock rings.

Donald Glover's impromptu "This Is America" performance was the highlight of the 2018 BET Awards. "Everybody begged me to do a joke about that song," host Jamie Foxx said. "I said, 'That song should not be joked about.'"

Happy Pride Month! Two members of the New York City Fire Department got engaged during a pride parade on Sunday and the photos are just gorgeous.

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