On Friday morning, as the networks informed viewers that Facebook has banned several controversial political groups and individuals from having an account, ABC, CBS, NBC, and MSNBC all failed to inform viewers that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been tied to the left, even while the same shows made a point of using terms like “far-right” to describe others affected by the ban. CNN even ridiculously labeled Farrakhan himself as “far-right.”
This resistance to tie Farrakhan to Democrats is not surprising given their history of ignoring high-profile stories about Farrakhan’s links to congressional Democrats, and his presence alongside several prominent Democrats and liberals at singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral last year.
On ABC’s Good Morning America, correspondent Tom Llamas recalled: “Many who were banned are extreme conservative voices, the most well known being Alex Jones. Jones supported President Trump but also peddled and supported sick conspiracy theories, like that the Sandy Hook massacre was fabricated.”
But there was no ideological label as he added: “But there are others being banned, like Louis Farrakhan from the Nation of Islam for his anti-Semitic views.”
Similarly, on NBC’s Today show, correspondent Miguel Almaguer recounted: “The far-right political site, Infowars, led by Jones, faces the harshest ban.” A bit later, he vaguely noted of Farrakhan: “NBC News reached out to Louis Farrakhan, but did not get a response.”
And on CBS This Morning, contributor Nicholas Thompson noted that “the bans mostly affect far-right figures,” and soon labeled Jones as a “right-wing personality.” A bit later, he added: “Yesterday, Facebook and Instagram banned Jones, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and alt-right personalities Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer — all of whom have used the site to spead anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim content.”
On MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson, fill-in anchor Kristen Welker referred to Jones and Farrakhan as “extremist groups” and then, even though Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism is blatant, she characterized it as merely an opinion some have of him, noting that he “has a history of what some have called anti-Semitic language.”
As MSNBC contributor Tony Romm discussed the development, he referred to “folks on the right” who might think Facebook went too far, and noted that President Donald Trump and others believe Facebook has a “bias against conservatives.”
About an hour later, MSNBC host Craig Melvin also presided over a segment and described the ban as being mostly against “far-right figures,” without giving an acknowledgement to Farrakhan’s history of political alignment with the left.
During the discussion, The Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson labeled Yiannopoulos “far-right” also without a label for Farrakhan.