If a Pakistani-born aide to the head of the Republican National Committee was caught up in bank fraud and conspiracy scandal, it would presumably dictate mainstream media news coverage the way President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia have dominated in recent months. But this is currently going on with the former head of the Democratic National Committee – and nobody in the mainstream media seems to care.
Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s former IT aide Imran Awan pleaded not guilty in September to multiple federal charges including bank fraud and conspiracy and most Americans have no idea because the mainstream media has largely ignored the story.
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Andrew Tyndall monitors weekday nightly newscasts of ABC, NBC and CBS on a regular basis and is widely regarded as an expert on television news. He said the story has received zero coverage on any of the broadcast networks' nightly newscasts.
“A general explanation would be their fixation with Donald Trump,” Tyndall told Fox News. “There is no Trump angle to the Wasserman Schultz story.”
Tyndall predicted that the story would be “much more newsworthy” to the mainstream media if Hillary Clinton won the election. Wasserman Schultz, the former DNC head, kept Awan on her payroll for months, even after a criminal investigation was revealed and he was barred from the House IT network. Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry said the Awan case is “a substantial security threat.”
“The major news media have hidden this story better than Hillary Clinton hid State Department emails."
- Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor
“The major news media have hidden this story better than Hillary Clinton hid State Department emails. Journalists don't want to give attention to any scandal that helps the Trump administration,” Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor told Fox News.
A search for the keyword "Imran Awan" shows no results in MSNBC’s transcripts since at least Sept. 1 and Wasserman Schultz has only been mentioned by MSNBC once in that time, when she appeared to discuss Hurricane Irma's impact in Florida.
A Google news search of the name “Imran Awan” barely yields any results and, with the exception of Fox News, only The Daily Caller appears to be covering the story on a regular basis. A search of CNN’s website for the name “Imran Awan” doesn’t offer any results since Aug. 1 and MSNBC’s site doesn’t offer any reporting at all. The New York Times’ website doesn’t have a story featuring Awan since late July, while the Washington Post and Associated Press have published one story each since the beginning of September, according to search results.
It’s not like the story isn’t juicy. A grand jury had returned an indictment in August in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, with a total of four charges. They allegedly tried to obtain home equity loans for $165,000 and $120,000 from the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union and then transferred the money to Pakistan.
In fact, “only a few reporters sat in the mostly empty wooden benches in the back of the courtroom,” when Awan appeared in court last week, according to reporter Frank Miniter.
“Back in June when Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she had fired her IT staffer, all three network evening news shows censored it,” Gainor said. “Journalists don't want to admit that The Daily Caller has crushed them on a major story almost as much as they hate to admit there's a Democrat scandal.”
If the mainstream media covered the court appearance, they would have heard assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mirando telling the courtroom that when Imran was arrested at Dulles International Airport a cellphone found on him “had been wiped clean just a few hours before.”
If that’s not scandalous enough, Awan was also caught at Longworth congressional building late at night after every Democrat aside from Rep. Wasserman Schultz -- who does not work in that building -- had fired him. Police are investigating possible theft of congressional computer equipment, which includes data moved off the congressional system. Fake computer information was allegedly created to throw investigators off the trail, and data mined by the Awans could include emails from many members of Congress.
Congress has even been asked to open an ethics investigation to answer why Rep. Wasserman Schultz kept Imran on her payroll after the investigation became known.
MSNBC declined comment, ABC News could not be reached and CBS, NBC, CNN and The New York Times did not immediately respond.
Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News.
Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.