Khizr Khan has become a household name over the last week. The Muslim Gold Star father spoke out against Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention, bringing news anchors to tears and drawing the Republican nominee into an unwise confrontation that could have disastrous effects on his poll numbers as the general election begins in earnest. Khan’s speech received so much coverage that it boosted sales of pocket-sized copies of the Constitution, one of which the Muslim used as a prop on stage when asking if Trump had ever read the document.
Contrast that with Patricia Smith, whose son Sean was killed in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. Smith, speaking at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, said, “For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has wrought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton. I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”
Now Clinton, to her “credit,” avoided getting into a public feud with a grieving mother. Trump would have done well to follow her example.
But putting that aside, the media’s coverage of these two parents has been astoundingly unbalanced. According to Newsbusters, the big three networks gave the Khans 50 TIMES as much coverage as they gave Patricia Smith in the days after their respective speeches.
“In the days (July 19 to August 1) that followed Smith’s indictment of Clinton from the RNC podium, CBS (3 seconds) ABC (13 seconds) and NBC (54 seconds) gave her speech a total of just 70 seconds of coverage,” writes the media watchdog site. “In the four days (July 29 to August 1) following Khizr Khan and his wife Ghazala’s speech NBC (31 minutes, 39 seconds) offered the most amount of time followed by ABC (14 minutes, 21 seconds) and then CBS (9 minutes, 13 seconds).
This kind of media bias has a substantial impact on the tenor of the election, to say the least. And it’s already reflected in the polls; Trump has lost considerable ground in the days since Clinton accepted the nomination, thanks in no small part to the endless glorification of Khan’s speech and the endless criticism of Trump’s response.