MAGA extremists are celebrating Mark Robinson's antisemitism and extremism. Mainstream outlets are downplaying it.

The North Carolina gubernatorial candidate has denied the Holocaust, called abortion murder, and made numerous other antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ remarks

Mainstream media outlets responded to North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s win in his state’s gubernatorial primary by downplaying his history of extremist comments. Robinson is now set to face Democratic Party candidate Josh Stein, the state’s attorney general, in the general election in November.

The race is expected to be one of the most expensive state-level races this election cycle, making the stakes of Robinson’s mainstream coverage all the more important. So far, that coverage is severely lacking, relying on euphemisms and omissions to obscure and soften Robinson’s far-right positions.

Robinson is a relative political newcomer who rose to prominence after a 2018 video of him delivering a pro-gun diatribe went viral and right-wing media embraced him. Since then, Robinson has made repeated anti-gay and anti-trans comments, including referring to “transgenderism” and homosexuality as “filth,” calling LGBTQ people “devil worshipping child molesters,” calling for trans women to be arrested for using women’s bathrooms, and arguing on Facebook that acceptance of gay people will lead to pedophilia.

Robinson has also made a host of antisemitic comments. He engaged in Holocaust denialism, calling it “hogwash” and questioning the number of Jewish people killed by the Third Reich. In an interview with a far-right pastor, Robinson expressed agreement with his host’s assertion that one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was the Rothschild family of “international bankers that rule every single national or federal reserve-type style of central bank in every single country.” He said the Marvel movie Black Panther was “created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by [a] satanic marxist” and “was only created to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets.” In 2014, he favorably quoted Adolf Hitler in a Facebook post, a move which he defended last year.

The lieutenant governor has also made many misogynistic comments, including when he defended Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby as victims of a left-wing “plot.” He has referred to abortion as “murder” and “genocide,” and previously advocated for a total ban on the medical procedure. (He now publicly supports prohibitions after about 6 weeks, amounting to a de facto ban for many pregnant people.)

He has made other extreme comments as well, including denying climate science, pushing birtherism, criticizing the Civil Rights Movement, and espousing Islamophobic beliefs.

Although mainstream coverage of his primary win often included one or two of these pieces of crucial context, as a rule it downplayed Robinson’s extremism.

  • The New York Times published an article headlined “Who Is Mark Robinson, the Republican Nominee for North Carolina Governor?” In the article’s subheadline, the Times referred to Robinson as “a fiery outsider eager to dive into the culture war.” The body copy referred to him as “a political firebrand” and “political outsider” who has made “incendiary comments on social issues.” The piece completely omitted Robinson’s antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and downplayed his anti-abortion extremism by excluding his characterization of abortion as “murder.” The Times buried Robinson’s anti-LGBTQ comments, including them only at the end of the article, and still failed to include some of his most bigoted comments, like those linking homosexuality to pedophilia. (The article was heavily modified following significant online criticism of the original piece.)

  • Another Times story, this time reporting on Robinson’s victory in the primary, referred to his “blustering, Trump-aligned style.” That article included a paragraph listing some of Robinson’s extremist positions, but failed to mention his history of calling abortion “murder."

  • The Washington Post’s article on Robinson’s victory was a reprint of an Associated Press story that largely followed the same playbook. The wire service’s first mention of Robinson described him as a “former factory worker who splashed into conservative circles,” and the piece did not lay out his bigotry until about halfway through the article. Like the Times, the Post omitted Robinson’s Holocaust denial, his comments about homosexuality and pedophilia, and his reference to abortion as “murder.”

  • The Wall Street Journal’s short write-up did mention Robinson’s Holocaust denialism, but its summary omitted his anti-abortion extremism.

  • USA Today foregrounded Robinson’s bigotry, including his antisemitism, but did not mention his Holocaust denial explicitly. Although the paper devoted a section to his abortion policies, it did not include Robinson’s comments comparing the medical procedure to “murder.”

  • The Los Angeles Times, which recently announced layoffs of at least 115 newsroom employees, did not cover the race at all.

Mainstream digital coverage followed a similar pattern.

  • A short blog post on Politico mentioned Robinson’s “long list of controversies” but didn’t specify any of them beyond providing a short quote from Stein’s camp. The site’s influential Playbook morning newsletter didn’t mention Robinson at all.

  • Axios referenced Robinson’s “improbable and controversial political ascent” and acknowledged his “incendiary comments about women, Jews, and LGBTQ people,” providing a link to outside coverage but no explicit detail in the piece itself.

  • CNN’s digital coverage introduced Robinson as a “right-wing firebrand” and “a bombastic supporter of gun rights and abortion bans, along with a penchant for dabbling in antisemitic, misogynist and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.” CNN did not mention Robinson’s comment equating abortion to murder, an odd omission considering that the network broke that story.

Far-right extremists, meanwhile, are celebrating Robinson’s win. Notorious antisemite Andrew Torba, CEO of extremist social media site Gab, reposted one of Robinson’s most explicitly antisemitic posts. White nationalist Vincent James posted a summary of Robinson’s antisemitic remarks on his Telegram account.

The mainstream outlets above used euphemisms to soften Robinson’s image and omissions to mislead readers about his past. Taken together, the coverage resoundingly fails to portray Robinson in his full, extreme context, doing a disservice to readers facing what is potentially one of the most important gubernatorial races in the county.