One of the many despicable attributes of the Trump administration is its habit of using press credentials to punish critics and reward allies—even when the allies are racist conspiracy theorists.
TruNews, a paranoid Christian-right website run by pastor, “citizen reporter,” and former salesman Rick Wiles, never seems to have trouble getting White House credentials, or the president’s ear, despite Wiles’s solid record of antisemitism, racism, and homophobia.
According to Right Wing Watch’s Kyle Mantyla:
This is the same Wiles who, last November, dedicated an entire program to declaring that the effort to impeach Trump was a “Jew coup” that will eventually lead to a “purge” in which millions of Christians are killed.
In that very same program, while speaking of the Biblical destruction of Sodom, Wiles asserted that “if God sent angels to this country, homosexuals would attempt to rape them.”
And lest we’re tempted to believe that that program was an anomaly, Wiles also claimed that Jeffrey Epstein’s death was part of what he called, a “kosher cover-up”; that fellow pseudo-journalist Ben Shapiro has “the spirit of anti-Christ”; that Mark Zuckerberg is of “the synagogue of Satan”; and that abortion in America is the fault of “powerful, rich Jews.”
Yet the White House still let TruNews “cover” this week’s World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.
TruNews’s “reporting” from Davos won’t disappoint its critics: hard-hitting segments include, among other things, the details of an overheard conversation between a Saudi official and a political consultant whose breathless non-scoop is that the president doesn’t care much about the peace process (along with speculation that Trump’s assistance to Netanyahu before the Israeli election was “probably at the prompting of Jared Kushner”).
Of course, this isn’t the first time that TruNews has been given access to Trump events. It’s not even the first time TruNews has been invited by the White House to cover Davos. And, in March 2019, TruNews “correspondent” Kerry Kinsey even scored an interview with nepotism poster-boy (runner-up) Donald Trump Jr. at his father’s Grand Rapids rally.
Contrast this unfettered access to CNN’s troubles. Whatever the network’s failings, it does not promote homophobia and antisemitic and racist conspiracy theories. Yet in November 2018, CNN had to sue to get the White House to reinstate Jim Acosta’s press credentials, which the administration had pulled after Acosta dared to ask pointed questions about the Russia investigation.
(Sarah Huckabee’s justification—that Acosta was “placing his hands” on the intern who tried to take his microphone—was one of the more blatant lies from an administration marked by blatant lies.)
At this point in his administration, the president’s racism seems pretty obvious. His feelings about gays and Jews are a little less obvious. What seems crystal clear, though, is that he has no problem credentialing the vilest homophobes and anti-Semites.
It might even be a question someone from a more reputable news organization could ask him about, though they would of course put their credentials at risk for doing so.