Almost all cable and broadcast news morning shows reported on President Donald Trump inviting the abusive authoritarian president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to visit the White House, mentioning Duterte’s record of human rights abuses. The only morning show of a major network to not cover the story was Fox & Friends, which made no mention of Trump’s invitation or Duterte’s human rights abuses.
Trump Invited The Authoritarian Leader Of The Philippines To The White House
Trump Invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte To White House. The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump invited the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House during a “‘very friendly conversation’” he had with the authoritarian leader on April 29. Duterte, The Times noted, has been condemned by “human rights groups and many Western governments” for “ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects” and others “who may have had no involvement with drugs.” From the April 30 article:
President Trump on Saturday invited the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House, embracing an authoritarian leader who is accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and who crudely disparaged Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.
Mr. Trump had a “very friendly conversation with Mr. Duterte,” according to a statement issued by the White House late Saturday. It said that the two leaders “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.”
In fact, Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of several thousand people suspected of using or selling narcotics, as well as others who may have had no involvement with drugs. Human rights groups and many Western governments have condemned Mr. Duterte for the bloody campaign. [The New York Times, 4/30/17]
Almost All Major Cable And Broadcast News Morning Shows Mentioned The Invitation And Noted Duterte’s Human Rights Abuses
CBS’ Margaret Brennan: Duterte Has “Personally Bragged About” Killing Citizens. CBS’ Margaret Brennan reported that Duterte has “signed off on the extrajudicial killings of thousands” of people in the Philippines “and even personally bragged about shooting some himself.” From the May 1 edition of CBS This Morning:
MARGARET BRENNAN: This weekend President Trump also invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. Administration officials say he will raise human rights concerns. Duterte has signed off on the extrajudicial killings of thousands of his own people and even personally bragged about shooting some himself. [CBS, CBS This Morning, 5/1/17]
CNN’s Joe Johns: “Duterte Has Led A Deadly Crackdown On Drugs That’s Left Thousands Dead.” CNN’s Joe Johns reported that Trump’s citics and human rights organization have responded to Duterte’s invitation “with outrage.” From the May 1 edition of CNN’s New Day:
JOE JOHNS: The Trump administration is under fire for inviting the Philippines’ authoritarian leader to the White House. Rodrigo Duterte has led a deadly crackdown on drugs that’s left thousands dead.
The White House arguing that the U.S. needs the Philippines to combat the North Korean threat, as Trump’s critics and human rights organizations respond with outrage. [CNN, New Day, 5/1/17]
HRW’s John Sifton On CNN: Duterte “Actually Boasts Of His Crimes” And “Boasts Of Killing People Himself. CNN also hosted John Sifton, the Asia Advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, who told host Alisyn Camerota that Duterte is worse than “just an abusive authoritarian leader,” because he “boasts of killing people himself” including those who “turn out to be innocent people.” From the May 1 edition of CNN’s New Day:
ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): What did you think when you heard that President Trump had had, quote, “a very friendly conversation” with President Duterte and had extended this invitation to the White House?
JOHN SIFTON: Well, in some cases it's not surprising. President Trump has already invited the authoritarian leader of Egypt to the White House, but it was extremely disappointing. Let’s talk about who Duterte is: he’s not just an abusive authoritarian leader. He actually boasts of his crimes, which is more than a lot of abusive regimes do. He boasts of killing people himself, and he has set off a wave of extrajudicial killings in the name of counternarcotics, that have killed thousands and thousands of people -- not just drug users, not just drug dealers, but suspected drug users who turn out to be innocent people. The other thing that we’ve noticed over the years is that when death squads are created in any country, Philippines, Brazil, wherever, they tend to morph into political death squads as well. We're starting to see a political side to this violence, too, with Duterte’s political opponents being targeted for threats and even violence. [CNN, New Day, 5/1/17]
NBC’s Kelly Cobiella: Duterte’s “Brutal Crackdown On Crime ... Has Claimed Thousands Of Lives.” NBC’s Kelly Cobiella reported that Duterte “has drawn international condemnation” for ordering a crackdown “that has claimed thousands of lives amid his country's ongoing drug war.” From the May 1 edition of NBC’s Today:
KELLY COBIELLA: It's [Trump’s] conversation with a controversial president of the Philippines that's really raising eyebrows. This morning, the White House is defending what it's calling “a very friendly phone call” with the controversial president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, about the escalating situation in North Korea.
Duterte has drawn international condemnation for his brutal crackdown on crime that has claimed thousands of lives amid his country's ongoing drug war. Mr. Trump inviting the leader to the White House, marking a change in direction in relations between the two nations. Duterte was a vocal critic of President Obama, sometimes using crude language to describe the former president when he was in office. [NBC, Today, 5/1/17]
ABC’s Martha Raddatz: Duterte’s Government Is Responsible For “Over 7,000 Extrajudicial Killings.” ABC’s Martha Raddatz reported that Duterte has “faced international criticism” due to his war on drugs being “reportedly responsible for over 7,000 extrajudicial killings since his inauguration” last year. From the May 1 edition of ABC’s Good Morning America:
MARTHA RADDATZ: President Trump facing new controversy this morning for inviting Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. Duterte has faced international criticism. His war on drugs reportedly responsible for over 7,000 extrajudicial killings since his inauguration in June of 2016. [ABC, Good Morning America, 5/1/17]
MSNBC’s Willie Geist: Duterte’s Drug Crackdown Is Responsible For The Arrest Of Nearly “One Million People.” MSNBC’s Willie Geist reported that Trump’s phone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte didn’t seem to have mentioned Duterte’s “widespread accusations of human rights abuses,” and noted that Duterte’s crackdown “has led to about one million people being arrested and more than 7,000 reported deaths.” From the May 1 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
WILLIE GEIST: President Trump has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. The official readout says the two leaders had a, quote, “very friendly phone conversation” on Saturday, which doesn't appear to have touched on widespread accusations of human rights abuses against Duterte's government. They did discuss the North Korean threat and Duterte's drug crackdown. That crackdown, which started after his rise to power last June, has led to about one million people being arrested and more than 7,000 reported deaths. The New York Times reports the State Department and other officials were caught off guard by the invitation. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 5/1/17]
Fox & Friends Was The Only Morning Show On A Major Network To Ignore Trump’s Invite To Duterte
Fox News’ Morning Programing Made No Mention Of Trump’s Invite Or Duterte’s Record Of Human Rights Abuses. Out of the morning shows on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC, Fox News’ morning show, Fox & Friends, was the only one that made no mention of Trump’s White House invitation to Duterte or Duterte’s track record of human rights abuses. Media Matters used SnapStream to search for mentions of Duterte, the Philippines, and invitation.