Free Minds & Free Markets

Trump's Favorite 'Prayer Rug' Immigrant Story Seems Like Fake News and Shoddy Journalism

The Washington Examiner story relies on a single, anonymous source who has no evidence to support her claims. It serves only to confirm existing biases.

BSIP/NewscomBSIP/NewscomIn a Friday morning tweet, President Donald Trump promoted a Washington Examiner article that claims ranchers are finding Muslim "prayer rugs" along the U.S.–Mexico border.

The president's tweet excerpted a portion of a quote from the New Mexico rancher at the center of the Examiner article—an anonymous woman who claims that she's found these Muslim rugs on her property.

"There's a lot of people coming in not just from Mexico," the rancher tells the Examiner's Anna Giaritelli. "People, the general public, just don't get the terrorist threats of that. That's what's really scary. You don't know what's coming across. We've found prayer rugs out here. It's unreal. It's not just Mexican nationals that are coming across."

Even a cursory reading of the story raises a series of red flags—enough of them to make you wonder why the Examiner published the story in the first place.

The sole source for the "prayer rug" claim is the rancher. Her name is withheld, we are told, in order to protect her against potential retaliation from the cartels that are supposedly responsible for bringing those Muslims across the border.

The use of a single, anonymous source should always make a reader skeptical, but it's not enough to discount the story altogether. What's really odd is that the photos and video accompanying the print story do not show any evidence of the prayer rugs that the source supposedly found. She has photos of the trash that she claims illegal immigrants left on her property, but not the prayer rugs?

Even if the anonymous rancher is telling the truth about discovering these prayer rugs, a savvy news consumer should question the rancher's story's internal logic. The Examiner is asking you to believe that a group of devout Muslims illegally immigrated to the United States by traveling to Mexico and then making an arduous overland journey into America—and that they were so devout in their Islamic faith that they undertook that entire journey with their prayer rugs, which Muslims kneel upon to say their daily prayers. It's also asking you to believe that, after carrying those rugs with them for the entire trip, they cast them aside like a piece of garbage as they passed through this rancher's property.

Of course, the story also not-so-subtly implies that any Muslim carrying a prayer rug is somehow a threat to the United States. In an article filled with unstated and implied threats, this is perhaps the most ridiculous (and certainly the most xenophobic).

Unfortunately, fear-mongering about prayer rugs is not new in certain corner of right-wing media. An infamous Breitbart story from 2014 claimed the prayer rugs had been found in Arizona near the Mexico border, but the "rugs" turned out to be nothing more than torn t-shirts. It's a shame to see that the Washington Examiner, a reasonably respectable conservative publication, fall to that level.

Trump's tweet about the piece is another shameful effort to fear-monger about the threat allegedly posed by illegal immigrants. Trump has repeatedly, and falsely, claimed that nearly 4,000 terrorists have been caught coming across the border in the past year. The actual number is six. (For more on the Trump administration's misleading rhetoric about terrorists pouring over the border from Mexico, read Matt Welch's piece here.)

The Examiner describes the author of the piece as having been "press secretary for an immigration policy group." That omits the fact that the group in question is the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates not just cracking down on illegal immigration but reducing "overall immigration."

No, Giaritelli's prior job should not in itself discredit her reporting. But in this case, her reporting should discredit her reporting.

Photo Credit: BSIP/Newscom

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  • $park¥ is Tuipa||

    The Washington Examiner story relies on a single, anonymous source who has no evidence to support her claims.

    Doesn't matter. If it's good enough for Daily Caller, it's good enough for Washington Examiner.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    The Washington Examiner story relies on a single, anonymous source who has no evidence to support her claims.

    Nicky G did a whole article today on a Buzzfeed thing that wasn't any better sourced.

  • Fancylad||

    BUT THAT'S DIFFERENT because various reasons.

    Also, it came out today in testimony that Bruce Ohr warned DOJ & FBI of the Steele dossier bias BEFORE its use for the FISA warrant. If this was any other (Democratic) president, every newspaper in the country would be screaming about an FBI attempted coup, because that's exactly what this is.

    So how strange and unusual that an anonymous, unverifiable story is handed to some Buzzfeed clowns just before Ohr's testimony was to be given.

    Of course crickets from Reason on this.

  • vek||

    All the stuff that is damaging to the Progs being completely ignored here half the time is perhaps what shows Reason's bias more than anything else. They jump on top of every opportunity to trash Trump, or conservatives... But sweep have the shady shit the left does under the carpet. It's sickening.

    At least bash both sides without bias like a proper libertarian should! I guess the problem is if they did that, they'd realize that as shitty and flawed as the Republicans are, they're not 1/10th as bad as the Democrats are nowadays.

  • Elston G||

    How should reason have reported that Trump is spreading fake news and using lies and fear as a propaganda technique to get his way?

  • Elston G||

    Why is Buzzfeed referred to as clowns? They're one of the few people left doing investigative journalism.
    Just the fact that you seem to be in thrall of a sociopathic liar that doesn't have an ounce of credibility and can't be trusted to say anything truthful is enough to question your judgment.
    So, why are you so triggered about what's coming out and what's going to be public knowledge about the criminality of trump and his family and his organization in his administration?
    Does that make you deranged?

  • Juice||

    Rand Paul loves government and wishes it would never shut down again

    Republican Senator Rand Paul has reintroduced legislation to end government shutdowns...forever.

    The Government Shutdown Prevention Act doesn't allow the government to shut down. Instead, it automatically cuts spending should lawmakers fail to come to an agreement over government funding.
  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Man, guaranteed spending cuts in the case of government being intractable? Dare I dream?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This guy should run for president.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Oh Randy,
    Well, you came
    and you tried to cut spending
    But they sent you away

    Oh Randy,
    Well, I'm glad
    that your body is mending
    You'll to fight another day
    Oh, Randy

  • Mongo||

    I thought there were many musulmans living in the Southwest anyway.

    Wasn't there some sort of Muslim compound in AZ/NM that was raising kids to be jihadists or something?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Yeah. Also, Phoenix is a big city and so has a lot of people of various religions in general. In Tucson, you also saw a fair amount of Middle Easterners who came their for college, and stayed because they liked the climate. I had quite a few Saudis and Kuwaitis comment on that.

  • vek||

    Because nothing shows how diversity is our strength quite like religious terrorist training camps in the middle of our country!

    I don't have an irrational fear of Muslims... I have a rational one. Overall odds of terrorism are small, for now, with the numbers we have around. You're more likely to die from any number of random things.

    BUT, Muslims do account for something like 90% of terrorism in the world today. They're having a bad period in their history. I imagine when the IRA was going hardcore, that was enough to make all Catholics look bad... The thing is, why should you let in crazies when they're being crazy?

    The reality is if we kicked every Muslim out of the country, and never let another in until they got their shit together, we'd be better off. We wouldn't have to get anal probes to fly, spend hundreds of billions worrying about terrorism etc.

    Of course simple common sense isn't allowed today, so whatever. But it is basically true, even if it would be a "mean" thing to do.

  • Skyhawk||

    But then you wouldn't need 17 government intel agencies, TSA, et al.
    The reason why leftists want poor, uneducated, third world immigrants to flood the country is that it requires a huge increase in government agencies, services, and expenditures.
    Not to mention a large voting base that believes the economic nonsense spoted by Sanders, Clinton, Cortez, et al.

  • Elston G||

    Very dishonest post. If you wanted to debate economics let's do it.
    I can almost guarantee that you're in favor of corporate socialism for with the 1% and the average American can go fuck himself when it comes to your economic policies.
    Prove me wrong.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Oh, NOW single anonymous sources are a problem.

    The thousands referenced by Reason these past two years--those are just fine though.

  • vek||

    Come on, you know how double standards work! If it supports the narrative it's fine, if it doesn't it's literally Hitler. Or something.

  • Elston G||

    What's the narrative for you, that Trump ever lies or spreads fake news?

  • JesseAz||

    C'mon now. Ford wasnt anonymous!

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Just delirious.

  • Elston G||

    So you don't have a problem with the president's spreading fake news?

    Double standard?
    A reasonable person could come to question your judgment about all manner of things, let alone speak to policy.

  • Elston G||

    So you don't have a problem with the president's spreading fake news?

    Double standard?
    A reasonable person could come to question your judgment about all manner of things, let alone speak to policy.

  • Elston G||

    So you don't have a problem with the president's spreading fake news?

    Double standard?
    A reasonable person could come to question your judgment about all manner of things, let alone speak to policy.

  • Homple||

    Too bad that the Trumpophobia articles are crowding out ones about food trucks. I miss the food truck articles. I wish they would give Trump stuff a rest and do food trucks once in a while. At least there's still plenty about assex, Messicans and pot.

  • Elston G||

    Before we give Trump stuff a rest, why don't you comment on the fact that yes Trump spreads fake news? And it seems the only you fake news when it's something he doesn't like?
    Do you expect rational Americans to ignore it like you do?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Of course, the story also not-so-subtly implies that any Muslim carrying a prayer rug is somehow a threat to the United States.

    If you ask me, you have to be racist to even think they meant it that way!

  • Mongo||

    The only prayer rug I want to press my face against is Lindsay Lohan's trim, inshallah.

  • $park¥ is Tuipa||

    You think she has a rug? I'd imagine a little heart-shaped patch at most.

  • ||

    Given the trajectory of her film career, I think we'll have confirmation sooner rather than later.

  • Fancylad||

    She hasn't aged well. That carpet may be grey and fraying at the edges.

  • vek||

    THIS. She's lookin' pretty buckled last time I saw a picture, and that was a bit ago.

    That's what happens when you're a drug addled slut though I guess...

  • Tony||

    How many times do you have to be told. Conservatards don't examine facts for evidence, they have "facts" felt at them.

  • vek||


    Coming from a leftist moron, this is hilarious!

  • JesseAz||

    Wait... a leftist projecting the other side of feels over facts? Is that your truth tony?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Better not be finding any other symbols, iconography, or icons. I swear to God if ONE rosary pops up on the border I am joining the Minutemen.

  • Nardz||

    Well, at least we can rest assured that the unknown number of unknown persons crossing the border and leaving trash all over the place isn't a problem.

    Boehm: when's your next article celebrating the elections of Ds to office coming out?

    Progress uber alles

  • Elston G||

    So-called Libertarians ignoring evidence that Trump spreads fake news when he likes it and calls it fake news when he doesn't like it

    More evidence let this isn't a platform where the commenters are libertarian, but pathetically obvious Trump cultists and intellectually dishonest right-wing racist punks.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Is that a real poncho... i mean
    Is that a mexican poncho
    Or is that a sears poncho?

  • Rich||

    *** whispering ***

    Hello, Frank Zappa.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The Washington Examiner story relies on a single, anonymous source who has no evidence to support her claims. It serves only to confirm existing biases.

    This feels like almost every major news story since 2016.

  • Don't look at me!||


  • Elston G||

    That was profound. /s

  • ||

    What I find odd is the assumption that so many people seem to share that if a guy from, say, Saudi Arabia wanted to come here and commit some sort of terrorist act, that he would deem the cleverest way to do that to be to first travel to Mexico and try to sneak across at the exact point of the border everyone is currently flipping their shit about, rather than, say, finagling their way into a British Commonwealth country and slipping in through the totally-ignored northern border, the way terrorists normally do.

  • vek||

    Well, I think the thing of it all is people can and probably do do both. Or they just come over directly and don't leave. There are lots of ways to do it, as with most crimes.

    The thing is, just because an intelligent person can think of a better way to commit a crime... Does that mean we should leave it wide open to commit a crime another lesser way? Obviously not.

    Plus, stopping the hundreds of thousands of NON Muslim illegals crossing in the south every year would save far more lives than stopping a few Arabs who might kill people in more flashy ways.

    Hispanics are ~16% of the population in the US, and responsible for ~35% of murders every year. The US population was 2% Hispanic in the 60s... Almost every one of them here is an illegal, or child of a previously illegal person who got amnesty.

    Hispanic American communities lie in between the immense levels of black dysfunction and where whites/Asians are. Unless Mexicans are running blacks out of your area (like they did in Compton of all places!), crime is probably going to go up when they move in. Statistics are a bitch. So sayeth a part beaner from California.

  • RabbitHead||

    Getting into Canada ain't easy.

    They are way more rigorous than people think

  • Brett Bellmore||

    That is actually the rational way to do it, because to slip into Canada and cross our Northern border, you have to have a good enough cover to pass that British Commonwealth vetting, and your luggage will be searched.

    While coming in by our Southern border only requires getting into any of the South and Central American kleptocracies, because Mexico will let absolutely anybody through so long as they're headed our way, and you could smuggle just about anything you wanted along with you.

    Anyway, it genuinely would be a serious concern if we found a significant number of Muslims were crossing over our Southern border, because the percentage of Muslims in Mexico, Guatemala, or Honduras is a rounding error away from zero. Which means that if any significant number of Muslims were coming through that border, they'd be from somewhere other than South/Central America. And there ARE Muslim terrorists, it isn't an imaginary threat.

  • Rockabilly||

    Unnamed sources say most journalists are bitter and uptight gay transgender bi-sexual lesbian progressives who have a crush on Hillary Clinton.

  • ||

    I feel like I heard that somewhere else recently, so it must be true.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    claims ranchers are finding Muslim "prayer rugs" along the U.S.–Mexico border.

    And if any of these ranchers can tell the difference between a regular rug and a prayer rug I'll eat my sombrero

  • vek||

    What's the difference? Does the prayer rug have to be dyed with the blood of murdered gay people, or blessed by beating your wife on top of it until she passes out and takes a nap on it for Allah? Or do you just have to tell it some good Jew jokes? I would imagine any rug will get the job done, although I suspect they have middle eastern designs most of the time...

  • Drave Robber||

    At least 90% of regular rugs are symmetrical. (as a simple image search will confirm)
    Prayer rugs are always asymmetrical.

  • SIV||

    Trump's Favorite 'Prayer Rug' Immigrant Story Seems Like Fake News and Shoddy Journalism

    As a glass house-dwelling, stone casting, black-calling pot, Bro-heim knows all about that kettle-shit.

  • Ken Hagler||

    How could this rancher possibly determine that a rug was Muslim? Did it refuse to eat bacon when offered? And if so, how does the rancher know it wasn't a Jewish rug?

  • vek||


    Maybe there are hordes of Orthodox Jews pouring across the border, coming here to sue us or make movies!

  • IceTrey||

    Small rugs or pieces of carpet is how you climb over a barbwire fence. I bet that's what she saw.

  • vek||

    Probably. That was what I thought of almost immediately. Or really shitty sleeping mat substitutes. But there have been more than zero Muslims that have crossed this way, for whatever that's worth.

  • Matthew Chalice||

    I kid you not: this is a plot element from Sicario 2. Muslims sneak into the U.S. illegally at the beginning of that movie, then kneel at their prayer rugs and blow themselves up when they get stopped at the border.

    Perhaps the original author decided to hit up Redbox for inspiration?

  • Longtobefree||

    One anonymous source is more than a lot of "journalistic reports" I have read lately.
    A certain "reliable source" has a bunch of its prizes pulled for total fabrication.

    Which is worse, an anonymous source, or a made up source?

  • Nardz||

    I think Buzzfeed might find out soon

  • Fancylad||

    They're cool, they made sure that they had two made up sources. Not one.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Reason and the media uses both made up sources and fake facts from anonymous sources.

    Now mueller even denies the veracity of the buzzfeed story.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Aww and look--your fellation of that Buzzfeed story has blown up in your faces.


    It's fake news. According to Mueller.

    But we all know there's no embarrassment. You'll spit out the very next one that comes along.


  • loveconstitution1789||


    Even mueller denies the Buzzfeed story.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Trump's Favorite 'Prayer Rug' Immigrant Story Seems Like Fake News and Shoddy Journalism"

    Because journalism is reporting on how things "seem" to you.

    "The use of a single, anonymous source should always make a reader skeptical,"

    Except when it's a juicy story about Trump.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So Trump, the Examiner, and Giaritelli are all retards.

    But, FYI, illegals often do ditch everything, including important possessions, at the border. Some coyotes force them to do this, and even provide more "American" looking clothing, so illegals become less visible once they reach more populated areas.

  • James Pollock||

    Why would these hypothetical Muslims want to cross the Southern border, when the Northern border is so much easier to cross? Are they stopping by Cancun for spring break before heading to the US?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Because to cross our northern border they first have to get into Canada, which is a lot harder than getting into Mexico.

  • Bill Sweet||

    If the references to prayer rugs being found on ranchers near the Southern Border are false. There are enough examples in my book, "A Journey into Prayer," and on the Spindrift Research website to support that a number of prayer rugs and various prayer rooms have been found in odd locations. For example, a friend works in an office building. He wondered about a room where some people disappeared sometimes. He got in there after hours and found it was a prayer room with rugs rolled up that apparently are rolled out several times a day. Also, under a couple of major airport runways, prayer rooms have been found.

  • Elston G||

    Fake Libertarians posting here want to ignore at all costs the fact that Trump actually tweets fake news.

    That's the most disappointing thing about coming to the site, the overwhelming amount of posters are right wing intellectually dishonest Trump cultists inauthor authoritarian

  • BabyLib||

    Shame on the Washington Examiner AND BuzzFeed for citing a single source in their recent stories. The Examiner story sounds like a bunch of BS fake news. There are rules in journalism, although one might not believe it. What's worse is the fact that the president loves to retweet such bullshit like it's the most important thing ever. Heaven forbid he CHECKS with someone on the facts of anything. The man has no filter, no manners, no compass, no class, and no dignity. He is completely detestable in every way. I was no Bush or Obama supporter, but they were both decent, dignified, mannerly, gentlemanly, and sincere.


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