How Cable News Covered White Supremacists Allegedly Shooting Black Lives Matter Protesters In Minneapolis
CNN And MSNBC Give Extensive Coverage To Shooting, Fox News Barely Covers After Previously Calling Black Lives Matter A "Hate Group"
Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT
After months of vilifying Black Lives Matter and labeling the movement a "hate group," Fox News devoted scant coverage to a November 23 mass shooting that injured five protesters at a Black Lives Matter vigil in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and similarly downplayed the subsequent arrests of three white suspects.
By contrast, CNN provided updates throughout the day following the shooting, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow offered in-depth coverage of the escalating threats of violence leading up to the attack:
Five protesters suffered injuries when at least one person opened fire on a Black Lives Matter gathering outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct building on the evening of November 23. The Washington Post reported protesters had been "camping in front of the 4th Precinct since Nov. 15, when two Minneapolis police officers were involved in the contentious killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark." As of November 24, "[t]he police said that they had arrested a 23-year-old white man, and that two other white men, ages 21 and 26, turned themselves in on Tuesday afternoon," according to The New York Times, which added, "[t]he police also said they were aware of a video in which masked men are seen driving to the protest site and brandishing a pistol, while making racist comments and justifying the killing of Jamar Clark." Social media posts of the three suspects "reveal a fascination with guns, video games, the Confederacy and right-wing militia groups," RawStory reported.
As the news of the shooting made national headlines and developments poured in on November 24, Fox News devoted the least amount of coverage to the incident among cable networks.
According to a Media Matters review, Fox only mentioned the Minneapolis shooting 3 times, with coverage totalling only 1 minute and 16 seconds. CNN covered the story for 10 minutes and 37 seconds throughout the day, while MSNBC covered the story for just over 12 minutes
The November 24 broadcast of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show devoted a full segment to the incident, placing the shooting in the recent context of masked "anti-protesters or counter-protesters, or maybe you'd call them provocateurs" turning up at local Black Lives Matter protests to videotape the gatherings. As host Rachel Maddow explained, demonstrators at the 4th Precinct faced racist intimidation and escalating threats of violence leading up to Monday's shooting.
The shooting follows months of Fox News attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement, including Fox hosts likening the movement to "the Nazi Party," and the "Klu Klux Klan," and a "hate group."
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly continued his attacks on Black Lives Matter during a panel on his show the day following the shooting. During the November 24 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said of the movement, "if black lives matter, how come this group isn't on the south side of Chicago when every weekend you've got a couple of dozen black lives lost," while a panelist claimed Black Lives Matter is "inciting violence to the point of hate crime."
During that segment, O'Reilly even alluded to the police shooting of Jamar Clark, but failed to acknowledge that five people protesting Clark's death had been shot the night before or that three suspects had been arrested.
Media Matters used Nexis and internal video archives to analyze news coverage of the shooting on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, using the search term "Minneapolis" from 6 a.m. EST through 12:00 a.m. EST on November 24. Media Matters did not include reruns in the time count of coverage.
Lis Power and Brendan Karet contributed research to this report.