During the 2015 Summer of Love, German journalists unanimously decided to call all migrants headed toward Europe 'refugees', in a transparent attempt to cultivate sympathy and to downplay the distinction between refugees fleeing war and persecution and those simply hoping to reach a country with a higher standard of living.
This was propaganda. A person moving from one country to another is a migrant. This person only becomes a 'refugee' after a formal legal process has conferred that title on him or her. Calling all migrants 'refugees' is like calling all females 'wives'. The BBC explains this basic fact at the end of its articles on migrants, including this article about the brother of the Prime Minister of Kosovo claiming 'political asylum' in Germany because he wanted a free operation at a German hospital:
A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.
The problem with the German press' unilateral, unanimous decision to mislabel migrants is becoming clear right now. As a result of an agreement with Turkey, nobody will be allowed to enter Europe from that country unless they can prove they face life-threatening persecution in Turkey. This 180° lurch in policy was rushed into place just a few days ago, and is already leading to chaos. Of course, since almost nobody will be able to prove they are in danger in Turkey, almost all the 'refugees' will be turned back. Only a handful of Syrians will be let through.
Which leaves German journalists with a serious problem. In 2015, calling all migrants 'refugees' made Germany seem noble and pure. Now, when the websites roil with videos of screaming, desperate migrants being forced against their will back to Turkey, the notion that Germany is doing these horrible things to refugees suddenly makes Germany look like quite the bad guy.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave / When first we practise to deceive!
So here's yet another one of my pretty darned reliable predictions: In the German press, 'refugees' sill shortly turn back into 'migrants', like Cinderella's carriage turning into a pumpkin. Of course, this being the German press, where accountability is a four-letter word, there will be no explanations or corrections. We'll also see a spate of articles and opinion pieces about how it's really not so bad that the migrants are being sent back, since most of them are economic migrants entitled to no protection anyway.