Major news outlets reporting on Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) newest endorser are leaving out that endorser's background as an extreme anti-gay hate group leader with ties to white supremacist groups.
Tony Perkins is the evangelical right wing activist credited with consolidating evangelical support behind Cruz in a December meeting of religious conservatives. Perkins has now formally announced his endorsement of the Texas senator, calling him “a constitutional conservative who will fight for faith, family and freedom” during a January 26 interview on Fox News' The Kelly File.
Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), which is designated as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center based on the group's propagation of falsehoods about LGBT people, as well as Perkins' own history of inflammatory comments. Perkins has called pedophilia a “homosexual problem,” equated being gay with drug use and adultery, accused gay people of trying to “recruit” children, and compared gay rights advocates to terrorists.
In addition to his anti-gay extremism, the Southern Poverty Law Center has detailed Perkins' ties to white supremacist groups:
In 1996, while managing the U.S. Senate campaign of Woody Jenkins against Mary Landrieu, Perkins paid $82,500 to use the mailing list of former Ku Klux Klan leader and state Rep. David Duke. The campaign was fined $3,000 for filing false disclosure forms in a bid to hide the payment to Duke. Perkins has stated he did not know about the mailing list's connection to Duke.
Perkins served as a state representative for eight years, starting in 1998. On May 17, 2001, he gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist group that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” Perkins who addressed the group while standing in front of a Confederate flag, claimed not to know the group's ideology at the time, even though it had been widely publicized in Louisiana and the nation.
But while reporting on Perkins' endorsement, media outlets failed to provide any information about Perkins' anti-LGBT extremism and white supremacist ties. Time, The Associated Press, and NPR all described Perkins as president of FRC without reporting the group's hate group designation. CNN and Reuters both characterized Perkins as an influential Christian leader. Politico did note that Perkins has “been vocal as an activist against LGBT causes,” but didn't further detail Perkins' anti-gay extremism.
Perkins has previously used GOP primary coverage to rise to prominence in national media outlets who failed to hold him accountable for his views while allowing him to position himself as a spokesperson for social conservative and evangelical voters.