A local TV station is receiving backlash for uncritically covering two anti-Muslim pundits

Islamophobic activist Katie Hopkins.

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Islamophobic activist Katie Hopkins.
source
America Can We Talk?/YouTube

  • A local CBS station is under criticism for a segment uncritically covering an event with Katie Hopkins and Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.
  • The two are anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists, and the segment didn’t contradict or push back against anything they said.
  • The station’s manager told INSIDER that the segment didn’t meet journalistic standards
  • Of the 57 percent of Americans who say they get their news from television, 46% say they watch local news stations, and some critics say the segment shows just how important local news can be.
  • Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.

A local TV news station is being criticized for a segment uncritically covering a speaking event with two famous anti-Muslim activists.

On March 25, Katie Hopkins and Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff spoke at an event hosted by Republican organizations in Midland, Texas. Both are conspiracy theorists who have been accused of making racist and Islamophobic statements. Sabaditsch-Wolff was convicted of hate speech in Austria in 2011 and forced to pay a fine. Even the description for their talk, titled “The Fall of Europe – Unbridled Immigration,” was billed as a warning against immigration and promoted several Islamophobic conspiracy theories.

CBS 7, a local news channel in the area, covered the event without pushing back against the Islamophobic rhetoric or the false statements made by people it interviewed. An audience member interviewed said “Islam is very stealthily trying to take over every country it can possibly take over, and it’s part of their religion to do so,” and the anchor failed to question the statements.

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Though the event occurred in March, it went viral after Ali Breland, a disinformation reporter for the left-wing political magazine Mother Jones, posted the segment to Twitter Friday. People pointed out that the reporters didn’t seem to take any responsibility for the false and hateful material in the broadcast or attempt to dispel the incorrect information being said on air.

A significant number of Americans consider television their preferred method of receiving news, according to a 2016 Pew survey. 46% of the 57% of Americans who get their news from TV say they watch local news to learn about current events.

In a statement to INSIDER, Don Davis, the vice president and general manager of the station, said the segment didn’t meet journalistic standards.

“KOSA-TV aired a story regarding the Midland County Republican Women and Midland County Republican Party inviting Katie Hopkins and Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff to give an anti-Muslim speech to local residents,” he said. “Our report did not provide pertinent information on the speaker’s backgrounds for context. We regret the information was not included and have discussed with news management to ensure that future reporting on such issues meets our journalistic standards.”

This post has been updated with Davis’s comment.