NBC's Today on Thursday ignored the militant atheism and liberalism of a North Carolina man accused of executing three Muslims on Tuesday night. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning at least mentioned Craig Stephen Hicks's hatred of faith, but none of the networks highlighted the individual's affinity for programs such as the Rachel Maddow show.
Today reporter Mark Potter noted that the sister of one of the victims "insists the killings were religiously motivated." He added that "this case has sparked international attention." Yet, Potter didn't offer viewers any explanation about Hicks's own religious beliefs. In contrast, Good Morning America's Tom Llamas asserted, "But Hicks openly posted on Facebook his proposed solution to problems in the Middle East: Atheism."
Over on CBS This Morning, Vincente Arenas alerted, "Hicks's Facebook page includes rants about religions in general and he calls himself an ordained atheist minister who enjoys target practice."
The accused's wife says the violence was related to a parking dispute.
In 2012, ABC used the mass killing by a gunman in Colorado to, within hours, smear the Tea Party as being connected. This was false, but journalist Brian Ross eagerly tried to link conservatives to the killing.
Imagine if this North Carolina man was a conservative, Tea Party-supporting right-winger?
The International Business Times detailed:
His Facebook 'likes' included the Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Bill Nye "The Science Guy," Neil deGrasse Tyson, Gay Marriage groups and similar progressive pages.
After it emerged that the suspect is a vocal advocate of anti-theism, evolutionary biologist and atheist philosopher Richard Dawkins condemned the massacre.
On Wednesday's evening news, the same pattern emerged. CBS and ABC mentioned Hicks's atheism. NBC did not.
Partial transcripts of the ABC and CBS segments an be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to the murder of three Muslim-American students in North Carolina. The neighbor who shot them is being held without bond. His wife says it was a fight over a parking space. The victims' family calling it a hate crime and ABC's Tom Llamas has the latest from Chapel Hill.
LLAMAS: But Hicks openly posted on Facebook his proposed solution to problems in the Middle East: Atheism. And Barakat's family tells me, Hicks's complained about loud Arabic conversations in the parking lot and previously threatened Deah.
FARRIS BARAKAT (Brother of victim): He showed him the gun. He kind of warned him of a gun.
LLAMAS: Deah and Yusor had just married in December. Their family Their family calling them model Americans living the American dream.
CBS This Morning
JEFF GLOR: This morning, investigators have not ruled out a hate crime. The three Muslim victims were all related. Now the FBI has joined in the investigation. Vicente Arenas is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with reaction from both the victims and suspects families. Vincente, good morning.
VINCENTE ARENAS: Good morning. Police are still trying to figure out exactly what happened here, but they theorize it was a dispute over a parking space like this one. They are each reserved and they are also numbered. But there's still a lot of questions about the shooting that took place in the condo behind me, a shooting that has left Chapel Hillin mourning. Thousands gathered on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill to remember the three victims, Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, all shot execution style in their Chapel Hill condominium, Tuesday evening. Omar Abu Dahki [PH] grew up with Barakat and was his classmate at the UNC dentistry program.
ARENAS: Hicks's Facebook page includes rants about religions in general and he calls himself an ordained atheist minister who enjoys target practice. Karen Hicks is his wife.