Following far-right anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer’s primary election victory in Florida’s 21st Congressional District, local television station WPEC -- owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group -- failed to mention her extremism during its coverage of her win.
Loomer is a noted conspiracy theorist and a bigot whose hate speech and discrimination has gotten her banned from social media and technology platforms including but not limited to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Lyft, Paypal, Venmo, GoFundMe, and even Shakespeare in the Park.
After her victory, the Republican Party of Florida expressed its support for the right-wing commentator, ignoring her history of hate speech against Muslims. Loomer has called herself a “proud Islamophobe” and described Muslims as “savages” who purportedly “ruin everything.” Following the 2019 mass murder of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, Loomer wrote: “Nobody cares about Christchurch. I especially don’t.” She also said, “Islam is cancer & we should never let another Muslim into the civilized world.”
Loomer has also worked for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars network, which has pushed numerous conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks and school shootings. Loomer herself accused students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, of being puppets, saying, “It’s obvious these kids are reading a screen or notes someone else wrote for them.” Loomer has also celebrated the deaths of thousands of migrants and called for the deaths of many more.
Context like this should be front and center in any news coverage of Loomer, especially now that she’s a major party’s nominee for a congressional seat. Unfortunately, none of this information was given to the viewers of Sinclair’s CBS affiliate WPEC in the congressional district Loomer is running in during the station’s news coverage of her primary win.
WPEC covered the victory five separate times on the morning after the primary election, according to a search of the Kinetiq video database. The station’s coverage of Loomer’s victory began in the 5 a.m. hour by noting that President Donald Trump -- himself well known as a bigot -- congratulated Loomer on Twitter for her primary victory.
The Sinclair station’s local news team briefly mentioned Loomer’s primary win twice in local news breaks during the corporate CBS morning news show CBS This Morning.
WPEC also blew its final chance that morning to give its viewers context about Loomer. During the 9 a.m. hour of its news broadcast, a member of its news team merely talked about the percentage of the vote she received.
Context about Loomer was also missing from the Sinclair station’s social media posts. A tweet and a Facebook post only mentioned Trump’s praise of Loomer -- while linking to an Associated Press report reprinted on its website which covered her history of bigotry.
In contrast to this inadequate televised coverage by Sinclair’s WPEC, ABC affiliate WPBF aired a segment highlighting Loomer’s bigotry, giving voters in the area crucial information about the Republican candidate.