Right-wing media criticized the coverage Khizr Khan’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, comparing it to the lack of coverage given to Patricia Smith’s speech at the Republican National Convention. But Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump directly attacked Khizr and Ghazala Khan with anti-Muslim and personal attacks, fueling widespread outrage and blacklash.
Father Of Slain Muslim Soldier Speaks Out Against Trump’s Anti-Muslim Statements At Democratic National Convention
Father Of Fallen Muslim Soldier Faults Trump For Anti-Muslim Rhetoric At Democratic National Convention. At the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan and his wife spoke spoke about their son, a Muslim U.S. Army captain, and criticized Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric. “If it was up to Donald Trump,” Khan said, his son “never would have been in America”:
Donald Trump was speaking at an event in Iowa, complaining that America was not allowed to waterboard terrorists, when Khizr Khan and his wife walked up to the microphone at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
Khan's son, Humayun, was a captain in the U.S. Army. When a vehicle packed with explosives approached his compound in Iraq in 2004, he instructed his men to seek cover as he ran toward it. The car exploded, killing Khan instantly. He was awarded the Bronze Star posthumously.
In 2005, The Washington Post interviewed Khizr Khan. “They did not call him Captain Khan,” he said of the men his son led. “They called him 'our captain.' ”
“We are honored to stand here as the parents of Captain Humayun Khan,” the elder Khan said at the Democratic convention, “and as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.” He spoke of his son's dreams of becoming a military lawyer and how Hillary Clinton had referred to his son as “the best of America.”
Then he focused his attention on Trump.
“If it was up to Donald Trump, [Humayun] never would have been in America,” Khan said. “Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country. [The Washington Post, 7/28/16]
Right-Wing Figures Claim Media Giving Khan’s Speech Unfair Coverage When Compared To Benghazi Victim’s Speech Republican Convention
Kimberly Guilfoyle: Clinton “Appears To Be Getting A Pass In The Press.” Fox host Kimberly Guilfoyle said that in the midst of media “erupting” over Donald Trump’s criticism of Khizr Khan, Hillary Clinton appeared to get “a pass in the press” for her response to a speech given by Patricia Smith:
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): Well, the media is erupting over [Donald] Trump’s remarks about Khan, Hillary [Clinton] appears to be getting a pass in the press after continuing to call Benghazi mother Pat Smith a liar after her emotional speech at the RNC. [Fox News, The Five, 8/1/16]
Sean Hannity: Mainstream Media “Ignored” Patricia Smith’s Speech. Conservative radio host Sean Hannity said “the liberal mainstream media” such as “ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC” ignored Patricia Smith’s speech at the Republican National Convention and that media’s lack of reporting on Smith’s speech “shows where their hearts and their souls are in the course of this election”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I want to start with the media coverage of this Khizr Khan issue, Khizr Khan issue -- whatever his first name is. I saw the speech, I feel sorry for the guy. Anybody that loses their son -- his son literally stepped out, saved people’s lives. He is a hero in every way and I bet most of you don’t know Donald Trump said he is a hero, not by the way media is covering this story. The media -- and here’s the fascinating part of this. I have to go back to 2007 and 2008, and I have to go back to my prediction that journalism in America is dead, that the news media’s dead, that they don’t do their job. My frequent comment that the number one donater (sic) -- the number one donation to the Hillary Clinton campaign will be the mainstream media. If you noticed, all weekend, the very same media -- not me -- the liberal mainstream media -- ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC -- that ignored Pat Smith’s speech at the Republican convention, that ignored the speeches of mothers that lost their children to illegal immigration.
I had on Pat Smith last week. In other words, while they’re ignoring it, not covering their speeches, this is now an obsession. It shows where their hearts and their souls are in the course of this election and they’re all in now. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/1/16]
Fox Report: Only One Speech “Drew Enormous Media Attention.” Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz reported that Khizr Khan and Patricia Smith both gave “impassioned speeches,” but that “only one of them drew enormous media attention.” Kurtz reported that most media found it unfair that Smith personally blamed Clinton for Benghazi and “that seems to show in the coverage":
BRET BAIER (HOST): Two speeches, both by grieving parents: One given at the RNC by a mother whose son died in the Benghazi attack, the other at the DNC by a father whose son died in Iraq. One went largely ignored, while the other made headlines, even before Donald Trump jumped into the fray. Fox News media analyst and host of Fox’s Media Buzz Howard Kurtz takes a look.
HOWARD KURTZ: Two parents, both touched by tragedy, gave impassioned speeches on big stages. Khizr Khan, a Muslim father whose soldier son was killed in Iraq denounced Donald Trump at the Democratic convention.
Patricia Smith, whose son was killed in Benghazi, denounced Hillary Clinton at the Republican convention.
But only one of them drew enormous media attention. Khan's speech made the front page of The New York Times and he was invited on NBC's Meet the Press and CNN’s State of the Union.
But what about Patricia Smith? True, she castigated Clinton before in numerous interviews, but her speech was widely ignored and in some cases attacked.
And today, Khan was back on the TV circuit. Khan is ripping Trump for pushing a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants, which is unpopular with most of the media. Smith is personally blaming Clinton for Benghazi, which most of the media find unfair, and that seems to show in the coverage. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 8/1/16]
Greta Van Susteren: “Is The Media Giving Democratic Gold Star Families More Attention Than Republican Gold Star Families?” Fox host Greta Van Susteren said that although Patricia Smith and Khizr Khan both “have important stories to tell” that media played favorites “in deciding what stories to cover.” Susteren said that the Khan family has appeared more often on news programs and asked if media gives “Democratic Gold Star families more attention than Republican Gold Star families.” From the August 1 edition of Fox News’ On The Record with Greta Van Susteren:
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: There’s no question about it, all Gold Star families deserve our respect and enormous gratitude. But is the media giving Democratic Gold Star families more attention than Republican Gold Star families? Since the convention, the Khan family, who appeared at the Democratic National Convention, have done at least six national interviews and their story has been featured on several additional national broadcasts. Pat Smith, who appeared at the Republican convention, is the mother of Sean Smith who was murdered in Benghazi, has only done two. Both families have important stories to tell. Both families have suffered enormous loss and as the media play favorites in deciding what stories to cover -- Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is back. Mr. Speaker, your thoughts?
NEWT GINGRICH: Anybody watching this campaign knows that at least 80 percent of the elite media is in the tank for Hillary. [Fox News, On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, 8/1/16]
Megyn Kelly: “Unlike Khizr Khan,” Patricia Smith’s Speech “Was Met With Harsh Criticism.” Fox host Megyn Kelly said that Patricia Smith’s speech at the Republican National Convention was met with “harsh criticism” that Khizr Khan did not receive. Kelly said that although Smith made inflammatory remarks about Clinton, she is “a woman who is still suffering from enormous grief” that “chooses to deal with her grief in a different way” than the Khan family:
MEGYN KELLY: Well, the Republican National Convention also heard from a parent whose child was lost serving our country, Pat Smith. You've seen her right here on The Kelly File among other places. The mother of Benghazi terror attack victim Sean Smith, and she delivered an emotional address on the opening night of the RNC. But unlike Khizr Khan, her speech was met with harsh criticism in the media. The Nation called it a “cynical exploitation of her grief.” MSNBC referred to it as “a spectacle so offensive, it was hard to even comprehend.” One of their hosts suggesting that Pat Smith “ruined the evening.” And a writer for GQ magazine tweeted out, quote, I would like to beat her to death.
There is no question that Smith said incendiary things about Clinton. She does not like Hillary. But this is a woman who is still suffering from enormous grief and that is very clear in any interview with her. She deserves empathy, just as Mrs. Khan does, who chooses to deal with her grief in a different way. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 8/1/16]
Unlike Smith, Trump And Right-Wing Media Directly Attacked Khan
Donald Trump Criticizes The Khan Family. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “pick[ed] a fight with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq,” following their speech at the Democratic National Convention in which Khizr criticized Trump and specifically called out his anti-Muslim rhetoric. On the July 31 edition of ABC’s This Week, Trump suggested that Ghazala Khan was not allowed to speak because she is a Muslim, and diminished the death of the Khans’ son by claiming that he, too, had “made a lot of sacrifices” for his country:
Trump, in turn, criticized the Khans in TV appearances and on Twitter. Speaking to ABC's This Week, he asked whether Ghazala Khan “wasn't allowed to have anything to say.” (Her response: speaking about her dead son is too painful for her to do in public.)
Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spent the weekend issuing statements distancing themselves from Trump's attacks on the Muslim immigrants. But Monday morning, Trump continued to tweet:
Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same - Nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016
This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016
That's despite a Sunday night statement issued by Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, that sought to paint a more conciliatory picture, saying, “Donald Trump and I believe that Captain Humayun Khan is an American hero and his family, like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by every American.”
Gold Star families is a term the military uses for the parents, sibilings and children of men and women killed in combat. [NPR.org, 8/1/16]
Trump Ally Roger Stone: Khan Is A “Muslim Brotherhood Agent Helping Hillary. Longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone accused Khizr Khan of being a “Muslim Brotherhood agent” and promoted an article that suggested his deceased son, Humayun Khan, was working for Al-Qaeda. Despite criticism, Stone repeatedly defended the accuracy of the article on Twitter. [Media Matters, 8/1/16]
NRA’s Allen West: Khan Should Ask For God’s Forgiveness For His “Damn Politicized Stunt.” National Rifle Association board member Allen West published an article on his website that criticized Khan for condemning Trump, calling Khan’s behavior “abhorrent and deplorable” and suggested Khan “will be remembered as a political pawn.” West wrote that he grieved for Khan’s loss, but that he grieved more that Khan “used his sacrifice and loss as nothing more than a damn politicized stunt.” [Media Matters, 8/1/16]
Clinton Expressed Sympathy For Both Khan And Smith During Fox Interview
Clinton Expressed Sympathy For Both Smith And Khan. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton began her interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace by saying her “heart goes out to” Patricia Smith and the father of Tyrone Woods, two Republican National Convention speakers that claimed she blamed an internet video for the attack in Benghazi:
HILLARY CLINTON: Chris, my heart goes out to both of them. Losing a child under any circumstances, especially in this case, two State Department employees, extraordinary men both of them, two CIA contractors gave their lives protecting our country, our values. I understand the grief and the incredible sense of loss that can motivate that. As other members of families who lost loved ones have said, that’s not what they heard, I don’t hold any ill feeling for someone who in that moment may not fully recall everything that was or wasn’t said. [Mediaite.com, 7/31/16]