Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. (Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images)
Media critic

A new story from the Associated Press provides readers an inside view of the treatment that awaits some minors separated from their parents at the southern border of the United States. “Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing,” notes the article by Nomaan Merchant. “One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.”

Overhead lighting, noted the story, stays on at all times.

The story went on to describe the trauma these children experience. “She was so traumatized that she wasn’t talking,” a representative of the Women’s Refugee Commission told the AP about a 4-year-old girl. “She was just curled up in a little ball.” The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), according to NPR, is using a network of 100 shelters spread across 14 states to accommodate the separated children. According to the Department of Homeland Security, about 2,000 children were separated from their parents from April 19 through the end of May.

Here’s a tweet from a CBS News correspondent:

Now consider the official government position on these conditions, as expressed in a Monday speech by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, at the National Sheriff’s Association annual conference in New Orleans.

For the purposes of this blog, Nielsen’s key quote is this: “It is important to note that these minors are very well taken care of. Don’t believe the press. They are very well taken care of. You know this, as many of you have detention facilities of your own,” said Nielsen to the sheriffs. “We operate according to some of the highest standards in the country. We provide food, medical, education and all needs that the child requests.”

Except, of course, the love and presence of their parents. Nielsen and her department, in other words, are providing juice and water, snacks, sandwiches and soul-searing trauma.

Regard the sequence here: The Trump White House makes a choice to separate children and families at the southern border; the president then lies about how it’s all the Democrats’ fault; the media documents the misery resulting from this policy; and then a Cabinet secretary instructs folks not to believe the scenes unfolding right in front of their eyes. There’s no outrage, no malice, no moral failing that this administration won’t blame on the U.S. media.