We've detailed how CNSNews.com obsessed over a comment by a Democratic member of Congress that it deemed offensive -- so much that it inserted the comment in the headlines of articles that had nothing to do with the comment. But when a Republican member of Congress made an offensive comment, CNS' response was, shall we say, decidedly less hyperbolic.
When comments by Republican Rep. Steve King stating that he didn't understand how terms like "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became offensive went public on Jan. 10, CNS initially said nothing. It took a full four days for CNS to notice -- and that was only when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that he would take action against King over the remarks.
Compared with CNS' response to Rep. Rashida Tlaib -- which cranked out five articles in four days referencing her profanity-laced call to impeach President Trump -- its take on King was very subdued. The headline on Melanie Arter's Jan. 14 piece read "Kevin McCarthy: ‘Action Will Be Taken’ Against Steve King," not explaining who McCarthy is or the reason he intended to take action against King. Surprisingly, the story itself was filled with criticism of King, and Arter's lead paragraph did describe what King said.
Of course, none of that appeared on CNS' front page, only the bland headline did. And the photo accompanying the front-page promotion was of McCarthy, not King -- as if the response, not the original offense, was the newsworthy part.
That take, of course, couldn't be the dominant tone of coverage. Enter Susan Jones, who penned an article the next day under the similarly bland headline, "Stripped of Committee Assignments, Rep. King Blames ‘Political Decision That Ignores the Truth’" -- which, again, failed to mention King's exact offense -- that gave King a platform to defend himself and blame liberals for being outraged over his remarks:
As expected, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stripped Rep. Steve King, one of the most conservative Members of Congress, from his committee assignments on Monday for "defending racism," as one liberal media outlet described it.
In response, the Iowa Republican said, “Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth.”
King said his remarks, as quoted in a Jan. 10 New York Times story, have been “completely mischaracterized.” In a tweeted explanation, King offered the “context” that “accurately reflects my statement.”
King said he was talking about “Western civilization,” not white nationalism or white supremacy, when he questioned, “How did that language become offensive?”
Being a loyal right-winger spouting the anti-media narrative of her employer, the Media Research Center, Jones made sure to also inject some opinion into the "news" piece: "It should be noted that the Jan. 10 New York Times report used Rep. King as a way to slam Republicans in general and President Trump in particular." She then cited a paragraph that stated how "Mr. King’s ideology and his language maligning undocumented residents helped shape the Republican message in 2016 and 2018 and define Mr. Trump’s agenda and prospects for re-election," Jones did not dispute the accuracy of that statement.
CNS has published no more articles devoted to King's remarks. But in a Jan. 18 article, Jones complained that in a TV appearance, Democratic Rep. Ihlan Omar was asked about "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), whose quote in the New York Times made it look like he was defending 'white supremacy.' King said he was talking about 'Western Civilization.'" She then devoted four paragraphs to King's defense despite the fact he was not the subject of this story.
None of these articles, by the way, not King's long history of racially inflammatory remarks. That's because CNS has previously touted King's remarks that more closely adhere to its right-wing agenda. For instance:
- Rep. Steve King: ‘If a Heartbeat Is Detected, the Baby Must Be Protected’
- Rep. Steve King: Intelligence Leaks 'Designed to Politically Assassinate' Administration Members
- Rep. King: If Trump Makes DACA 'Amnesty,' His Political 'Base Will Leave Him'
- Rep. Steve King Introduces Bill to Ban Aborting Babies With Heartbeats
- Rep. Steve King: Russia Hacking U.S. Election is a 'CNN Narrative'
- Rep. Steve King: 'Jesus Never Ordered Anyone to be Killed ... But Muhammed Did'
- Rep. Steve King: 'We Must Defend This Constitution'
That's the kind of right-wing rhetoric that earns you a pass from CNS when you spout racist stuff.