In an interview with pro-Trump cable outlet Newsmax, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) twice suggested violence as an alternative to failed legal cases by outgoing President Donald Trump and his allies, including Gohmert, to subvert American democracy and overturn the election. But most local television news stations in Gohmert’s district failed to cover his comments at all over the weekend, even when reporting on his dismissed lawsuit.
As the Dallas Morning News reported, on January 1, a federal judge tossed a lawsuit from Gohmert which aimed to force Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results in several key states when Congress meets to certify the Electoral College vote count. Gohmert went on the right-wing Newsmax channel that day to talk about it and twice suggested that violence was the only alternative to his failed lawsuit, as Newsmax revealed when it posted a clip of the interview on Twitter later that night.
Early in the clip, Gohmert says, “This is an example of when the institutions that our Constitution created to resolve disputes so that you didn't have to have riots and violence in the street -- it's when they go wrong.” Later in the clip, as Politico’s Kyle Cheney pointed out, Gohmert says: “In effect, the ruling would be that you’ve got to go to the streets and be as violent as antifa and BLM.” (Gohmert has mischaracterized Black Lives Matter protests as violent and supported Trump’s attempts to falsely link antifascist activists to terrorism.)
The next day, Gohmert posted a statement to Twitter denying that he was advocating for violence -- though as the Dallas Morning News article explained, he had called for violence on Trump’s behalf before in November.
A transcript search for mentions of Gohmert on the news broadcasts of KETK, KFXK, KLTV, and KYTX in the Tyler-Longview, Texas, television market over the weekend found that only the ABC-affiliated KLTV covered Gohmert’s January 1 comments at all -- and only after he posted his statement denying that he was advocating for violence. KLTV mentioned Gohmert and his rejected lawsuit four times in segments after Newsmax posted its clip to Twitter and covered his comments in three of them, or 75% of the time.
NBC-affiliated KETK mentioned Gohmert and his lawsuit just once after he made his comments -- but failed to report on them. The other two stations didn’t mention Gohmert’s lawsuit between the time Newsmax posted the interview clip and noon on January 3.
This isn’t the first time TV stations in Gohmert’s district failed to properly report on Gohmert’s dangerous acts. In late July, after Gohmert tested positive for the coronavirus and made dangerously false claims about face mask use in a TV interview, most of the local TV news coverage failed to correct his public health misinformation.
Media Matters searched the Kinetiq video database for mentions of Gohmert’s comments in the Tyler-Longview, Texas, television market on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co.-affiliated stations beginning January 2, after the clip of his interview was posted on Twitter by Newsmax, and 12 p.m. CST on January 3. Local newscast segments mentioning his lawsuit were coded for whether they covered either of his quotes mentioning violence. Segments from nationally syndicated news programs and teasers were not counted.