Published August 12, 2016
When a white supremacist endorsed Donald Trump for president, the broadcast networks blamed the candidate, but when the radical father of a terrorist endorsed Hillary Clinton, TV journalists dismissed it, according to a media watchdog.
During the first three days of coverage after David Duke, a white supremacist and former leader of the KKK, endorsed Donald Trump back in February, the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 11 minutes and 35 seconds to bashing Trump for not denouncing Duke, even though he had, noted Media Research Center.
Earlier this week, when the gay-bashing, Taliban-sympathizing father of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen showed up in the front row of a Hillary Clinton rally and vocally endorsed her, those same shows on ABC and CBS quickly dismissed it as a coincidence, giving it only 1 minutes 54 seconds of coverage on Aug. 9. NBC went a step further and failed to cover Seddique Mateen attending Hillary’s rally at all until the following day, when they gave it 18 seconds of coverage.
The Mateen story should have been hard to miss: Clinton spoke at length at the rally in Florida about the 49 people Mateen's son, an ISIS devotee, gunned down at a gay nightclub. When the TV networks did cover the Mateen story, it seemed as if their objective was to absolve the Clinton campaign, MRC noted.
“So, how did he get this prime spot?” ABC correspondent Cecilia Vega asked as she wrapped her coverage of the incident, “Secret service is telling us Mateen passed through metal detectors like everyone else. Clinton's aides will only say, ‘This individual wasn't invited as a guest and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event.’”
In contrast, on March 1, ABC anchor Tom Llamas described Duke’s endorsement as “the moment that’s jolted the Republican party.” Host Lester Holt led the February 29 NBC Nightly News with “in an election season filled with head-shaking moments, spray tans, the KKK and ear piece malfunctions are among the topics driving the conversation about the Republican race.”