Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Coverage of Baltimore Protests and Riots

The media coverage of the Baltimore riots has been interesting to follow because of the overemphasis on violence—"if it bleeds it leads". Coverage of looting and more violent protests diminishes the airtime for coverage of peaceful protests or community organized street clean ups. A young protestor, Danielle Williams, criticizes Thomas Roberts for MSNBC’s coverage of the unrest in Baltimore. "My question to you is, when we were out here protesting all last week for six days straight peacefully, there were no news cameras, there were no helicopters, there was no riot gear, and nobody heard us," Williams said. "So now that we've burned down buildings and set businesses on fire and looted buildings, now all of the sudden everybody wants to hear us."
This biased reporting has occurred across major news networks. “The Worst Moment of Fox’s Baltimore Coverage” an article on Mediaite, highlights Fox News Coverage of the Baltimore riots from Monday night. After focusing attention on buildings allegedly burned down by rioters, Megyn Kelly’s commentary shifted to an unrelated shooting in Brooklyn, New York. The network’s decision to pursue this story, insinuating that it was a related incident was extremely shortsighted:
“We’ve been keeping our eyes open for any related incidents, as we saw back during Ferguson, violence did break out in several other cities besides. Here you go. Here’s the Brooklyn live shot from overhead. So we will work to find out whether this is in any way connected to what we’re seeing in Baltimore. Which we don’t have confirmed.”
As Andrew Kirell of Mediaite confirms, the shooting was indeed unrelated to the Baltimore riots—the Brooklyn shooting was motivated by a local gang dispute.

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