Accuracy in Media

Remember how during the 2016 campaign, David Duke endorsed – or didn’t but came close – Donald Trump for president and how, for weeks, every mainstream media outlet tried to get Trump to denounce, renounce and disown any association with Duke?

Most of those same media outlets have been silent over the last month as the Democratic Party and many of its top leaders have been found to have had a cozy relationship with Louis Farrakhan.

First, there was the photo released in late January of a 2005 meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus, in which then-Sen. Barack Obama and Farrakhan were seen side by side smiling. Askia Muhammad, a D.C. journalist and jazz radio impresario, said a member of Farrakhan’s staff demanded the photo, but Muhammad made a copy for himself and kept it to himself for fear of retaliation until now.

“I gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy,” Muhammad said. As to whether it would have made a difference in Obama’s presidential run, Muhammad responded, “I insist. It absolutely would have made a difference.”

Then, there was the revelation by conservative media that Rep. Keith Ellison (D.-Minn.), vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had met numerous times with Farrakhan even since the 18 months he worked for Farrakhan in the mid-1990s.

The Daily Caller reported that Ellison met with Farrakhan at least three times since Ellison entered Congress in 2007. Ellison responded to information requests from the Wall Street Journal about one of the three meetings – a private dinner for American Muslim leaders held by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani following Rouhani’s address to the United Nations in 2013 – but he has refused to discuss the other two.

Duke’s endorsement of Trump was covered for weeks.

“Donald Trump stumbles on David Duke, KKK,” wrote CNN Politics. “Who is David Duke, the White Supremacist Who Endorsed Trump?” asked NBC News. “Donald Trump Declines Three Chances to Disavow Duke,” a HuffPost headline read.

But Trump said he has never met Duke and has taken multiple opportunities to disavow him. When asked in 1991 about Duke attracting 55 percent of the white vote in his race for governor of Louisiana, Trump said, “I hate seeing what it represents, but I guess it just shows there’s a lot of hostility in the country.”

Asked in 2000 about why he refused to accept the Reform Party’s nomination for president, Trump said, “Well, you’ve got David Duke just joined – a bigot, a racist, a problem. I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party.”

Asked in 2015 about Duke’s endorsement of him for president, Trump said, “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement.” Then asked the same question after Duke released a supportive statement in 2016, Trump said, “I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? OK, all right. I disavow, OK?”

But mainstream media have not held Ellison accountable for his associations with Farrakhan, who just last week delivered a speech in which he said, “the powerful Jews are my enemy” and “White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, our world is through.”

Ellison was challenged on TV about his association with Farrakhan in 2016, when he was running for head of the Democratic National Committee. Asked about a quote in which he wrote, “Minister Farrakhan is a role model for black youth; he is not an anti-Semite,” Ellison deflected.

“It’s bad reporting,” he said on Morning Joe. “I have a 10-year record in Congress and a 4-year record in the Minnesota state house. That kind of reporting is not quality and doesn’t help people understand.”

Asked if Farrakhan is anti-Semitic, he said, “Sure, but what does he have to do with this race or anything going on in this country? This is a smear campaign from 21 years ago. This is about distracting and taking away from the issues that really are at hand in this case.”

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