Rosa Parks's memorial received scant coverage on Fox News


As 4,000 people gathered in Detroit to pay their final respects to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks during four hours of her funeral ceremony on November 2, Fox News devoted just 23 minutes of air time to live coverage, compared with 108 minutes of coverage on CNN and 100 on MSNBC.* Dozens of politicians and business and religious leaders participated in the funeral ceremony for Parks at Greater Grace Temple.

A Media Matters for America review of the three cable news channels found the following instances of live coverage:

Time (ET)




11 a.m. - noon

:02-:05; :15-:21; :25-:28, :32-:39; :51-:55

:00-:05; :15-:22; :35-:39; :44-:50

:37-:39; :43-:46

Noon - 1 p.m.

:59-:02; :05-:09; :10-:21; :24-:28; :38-:50; :53-:56

:00-:06; :09-:22; :25-:36; :56-:57

:11-:22; :36-:39

1 - 2 p.m.

:00-:13; :16-:17; :35-:53

:00-:13; :25-:29; :30-:36;

2 - 3 p.m.

:02-:11; :46-:47; :53-:59

:59-:03; :07-:10; :13-:17; :29-:36; :51-:59

:07-:09; :51-:53

Former President Bill Clinton spoke for approximately 11 minutes shortly after noon, and all three outlets carried his speech for the duration. But while Clinton's remarks constituted roughly 10 percent of the total coverage on both CNN and MSNBC, they accounted for nearly half of Fox's coverage.

After Clinton spoke, Fox aired only three more segments, lasting two or three minutes each, for seven additional minutes of coverage. CNN aired 67 more minutes, and MSNBC aired 59. During the hour and a half of coverage following Clinton, several elected officials delivered eulogies for Parks, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm (D), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) -- the only African-American currently serving in the Senate -- Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Both CNN and MSNBC aired large portions of their speeches, in some cases presenting them in their entirety. Fox News recapped some of the speeches in its final two segments on the event, which lasted four minutes total.

In lieu of coverage of Parks's funeral, Fox News ran several reports on terror warnings, avian flu, the Democrats forcing a closed-door session of the Senate on November 1, and a manhunt for two escaped convicts in South Carolina. During the 1 p.m. hour, on DaySide, Fox News hosts Mike Jerrick and Kiran Chetry interviewed talk show host, cookbook author, and former Wilson Phillips band member Carnie Wilson. The segment included the following:

  • Wilson spoon-feeding Jerrick her special "Fall to Your Knees Mac and Cheese."
  • A critique of Camilla Parker Bowles's wardrobe:

CHETRY: Although is it a bad call to wear bright poppy red to a 9-11 memorial, uh, to go down and visit ground zero? Everyone called that a big faux pas in New York.

JERRICK: Well, if she had 50 outfits with her, she could have picked something besides fuchsia probably for that.

WILSON: I think she looked good.

  • An extended discussion, with accompanying visuals, of the top-five ranked celebrities from In Touch Weekly magazine's Best Cleavage in Hollywood poll, including speculation whether each was real.

Parks's funeral received no coverage during the 1 pm hour on DaySide.

* Based on live continuous footage shown between 11 am and 3 pm ET on November 2. In addition to their live reports and recaps, all three cable channels aired live shots of the funeral briefly before or after commercial breaks, usually lasting less than half a minute. These shots have not been included in the coverage totals. Programs reviewed include: CNN's Live Today, CNN's Your World Today, CNN's Live From...; MSNBC's News Live, MSNBC's Connected Coast to Coast; Fox News Live, and Fox News' DaySide.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
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