On Tuesday, the NBC standards department emailed staffers and told them not to refer to Rep. Steve King’s comments about white supremacy as racist, according to HuffPost.
The email said:
“Be careful to avoid characterizing [King’s] remarks as racist. It is ok to attribute to others as in ‘what many are calling racist’ or something like that.”
Steve King has a long history of making racist comments. In a January interview with the New York Times, he said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
Later that day, he made a statement saying: “Today, the New York Times is suggesting that I am an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy. I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define. Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives.”
Yet, it was clear even before the interview with the Times that King had white supremacist beliefs.
On Monday, the House Republican leaders stripped King of all of his committee assignments in reaction to his racist comments.
HuffPost provided an update later on Tuesday after the story was published with a response from NBC:
“We revised our guidance on Rep. Steve King’s comments,” reads an email from NBC News’ standards department that was shared with HuffPost. “It is fair to characterize King’s comments as ‘racist,’ and point out that he has a history of racist comments, and the context can be shared that others hold that view as well.”