Some media outlets ignored Trump's praise of “send her back” chanters while parroting Pence's claim he opposed it

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

CBS News, Politico, and The Hill reported that Vice President Mike Pence claimed that President Donald Trump “was very clear … that he wasn’t happy” about people chanting “send her back” at his rally, without mentioning that Trump had walked back his comments the next day and had commended the chanters.

After attendees at a Trump rally in Greenville, NC, chanted “send her back” during his rant against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-NY), Trump faced widespread criticism for not stopping the chant. Though he disingenuously denounced the chant on Thursday, the very next day, he refused to condemn the chant, instead calling the rallygoers “incredible patriots.”

Even though Trump walked back his comments on Friday, some news organizations credulously reported the claim Pence made in a Saturday CBS News interview that Trump “wasn’t pleased about [the chant], neither was I. The president’s made that very clear … that he wasn’t happy.” CBS’ article on the interview failed to report on Trump’s Friday about-face and his praise for the crowd at his rally; CBS’ Face The Nation also didn’t mention his walkback when it aired the relevant clip from the interview.

Politico also failed to report on Trump walking back his condemnation of the racist chant in both its article on the interview and a tweet promoting it.

As did The Hill.

In contrast to these three stenographical accounts of Pence’s remarks, USA Today fared marginally better -- though its headline and tweet on the topic didn’t give the full context of Pence’s comments, the article itself reported that Trump had reversed his position:

“The president wasn't pleased about it. Neither was I. The president's been very clear about that,” Pence said on CBS' “Face the Nation.”

After Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill expressed outrage at the crowd's chants, Trump said Thursday that he “wasn't happy with that message.” But Friday, he described the audience as “incredible people” and “incredible patriots.”

At Wednesday's rally in Greenville, North Carolina, the president made no effort to stop the chant and paused his speech as the audience said, “Send her back” nearly a dozen times.

CBS' chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett told Pence that Trump's “relationship with his supporters is as close as anyone has ever had in American politics,” and he could stop such chants “with one simple word or a phrase.”

The vice president said, “If it happened again, he might make an effort to speak out about it.”