From the November 24 edition of CNN's CNN Tonight:
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From the November 11 edition of CNN's CNN Tonight:
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From the November 5 edition of CNN's CNN Tonight with Don Lemon:
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Media figures defended a school resource officer who was seen on video violently "slamm[ing] to the ground" a student in South Carolina, and blamed the student for not showing the officer and her teachers respect.
CNN's moderators asked two questions during the Democratic primary debate on the issue of racial justice in America, but the topic was noticeably absent during the network's Republican primary debate.
During CNN's October 13 Democratic primary debate, moderator Anderson Cooper turned to Don Lemon, in order to "talk about issues of race in America." Lemon introduced a video question submitted via Facebook that asked, "Do black lives matter or do all lives matter?" Lemon noted that the question has previously been a stumbling block for some of the candidates on stage, and Cooper followed up by asking Secretary Hillary Clinton, "What would you do for African Americans in this country that President Obama couldn't?" The candidates' responses focused on institutional racism and urged reform on criminal justice, policing, education, jobs, and housing. In total, the debate dedicated nearly five minutes to discussing racial justice.
In contrast, CNN's September 16 Republican primary debate did not include a single question on racial justice.
The absence of questions addressing racial relations didn't go unnoticed. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote that "it was both fascinating and disappointing that race relations in America were not directly addressed" during the Republican debate despite the fact that "issues of race consume the news," and polls show it is among the top three most important issues facing the country.
Following the Democratic debate, Huffington Post reported that race was one of several issues Democrats discussed in their CNN presidential primary debate that Republicans didn't, writing "the GOP contenders, however, have failed to utter the word 'black' even once during either of their debates."
Media Matters compiled a list detailing the amount of time spent during the CNN Republican and Democratic debates on various topics:
Methodology: Media Matters counted the time spent discussing each topic, counting from the beginning of the moderator's question on a given topic to the end of the last candidate's response on that topic. The time count only includes questions that were focused on the above topics and the responses given, it does not include discussions of those issues during opening and closing statements or responses addressing those issues during questions focused on other topics.
Julie Alderman, Cydney Hargis, and Brendan Karet contributed research to this post
Vox highlighted how CNN's "nonwhite" moderators, Don Lemon and CNN en Español's Juan Carlos López, were given limited opportunities "to ask questions" during the Democratic presidential debate, and "were expected to ask 'ethnic' questions first."
CNN hosted the first Democratic presidential debate on October 13 and is receiving media criticism for its limited representation of ethnic groups and minorities. Though the network included Don Lemon and Juan Carlos López -- two moderators of color -- they were tasked with introducing or asking the race-related and immigration questions in the limited air time they received.
In an October 14 article, Vox's Dara Lind highlighted how "The only two nonwhite people who participated in the debate were CNN anchor Don Lemon and CNN Español's Juan Carlos Lopez" and that "even though both Lemon and Lopez weren't just limited to 'ethnic' questions, the debate gave the impression that that was their primary role." This is because, as Lind noted, although "CNN apparently wanted to be sure to address issues it thought were particularly relevant to black and Latino voters, and to have black and Latino people do it," the network "simply didn't give black and Latino people many chances to ask questions, period":
The only two nonwhite people who participated in the debate were CNN anchor Don Lemon and CNN Español's Juan Carlos Lopez. Lemon didn't even ask questions himself -- he introduced video clips from young people. As a result, the majority of screen time occupied by nonwhite people asking questions were on issues that are supposed to be of interest to their particular ethnic groups.
Lemon and Lopez were the only representatives of that half of the Democratic Party. But they got way less than half the speaking time. They were both supporting players to Cooper. At least Lopez got to ask his own questions, or questions that appeared to be his own; Lemon was tasked with mediating between the candidates and the questions of "young people." (Of course, the fact that the only "young person" who was visibly nonwhite was the one who asked about Black Lives Matter raises its own questions about what issues CNN thinks are important to young people.)
So it's not surprising that, even though both Lemon and Lopez weren't just limited to "ethnic" questions, the debate gave the impression that that was their primary role. CNN apparently wanted to be sure to address issues it thought were particularly relevant to black and Latino voters, and to have black and Latino people do it. But CNN simply didn't give black and Latino people many chances to ask questions, period. So the "ethnic issues" questions were forced to occupy precious slots.
The result isn't exactly tokenization: CNN didn't appear to be bringing in Lemon and Lopez just to address black and Latino issues, respectively. But in its effects, it looks a lot like that. At least some of the CNN debate moderators were aware that the Democratic Party is a lot more diverse than they were. It wouldn't have been that hard to give the nonwhite moderators more time -- and with more time, they could have asked more questions that weren't about the issues "people like them" are assumed to care about.
The media often treats Latinos as a constituency only concerned with immigration, despite the fact that they consistently rank other issues as just as important to them.
From the September 10 edition of CNN's CNN Tonight:
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In its reporting on the fatal shooting of two journalists in Virginia, CNN repeatedly and needlessly mentioned the shooter's history of registering gay porn websites as evidence that he was unstable and disturbed.
On August 27, CNN reported that Vester Flanagan II, the man who shot and killed two journalists on live television in Virginia, had set up domain names for several gay porn websites between 2007 and 2008.
CNN made no attempt to explain how the domain names could even be related to the shooting. The domain names were purchased years before Flanagan began working at WDBJ, the station that also employed the journalists he killed. And Flanagan openly identified as gay, so his sexual orientation was already public knowledge.
But throughout the day on August 27, CNN repeated its report about the websites Flanagan registered. During The Lead with Jake Tapper, CNN correspondent Drew Griffin called the report "just another disturbing twist" in the story of the shooting:
At the start of The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer teased the report while on-screen text blared the headline, "HISTORY OF INSTABILITY."
It was CNN's Don Lemon who finally challenged his network's report during an interview with Blitzer, saying, "I don't really see the relevance of it." He added, "I don't want to gay shame him. There's nothing wrong with being gay":
Injecting details about Flanagan's unrelated sexual history in reports about the shooting has the effect of associating homosexuality with deviancy, mental instability, and violence in the minds of viewers.
The practice of linking gay sexuality with violent or murderous acts isn't new or accidental. American media have a long, dark history of depicting gay sexuality as intrinsically violent and dangerous, especially when it comes to stories about brutal killings. And associating homosexuality with mental instability is a favorite right-wing tactic.
It's not surprising that fringe conservatives are suggesting that Flanagan's homosexuality is somehow linked to his decision to murder two people.
Without an explanation of how Flanagan's sexual interests are relevant to this week's brutal shooting, CNN reinforced a right-wing trope about homosexuality and violence without adding to its substantive reporting on the shooting.
A Black Lives Matter activist is now being forced to justify his race after national media fell for a false story fueled by Breitbart News, a conservative website with a history of reporting falsities.
An August 19 article on Breitbart News hyped "explosive new racial allegations" against Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King, citing a June 29 post on Re-NewsIt!, a blog that appears to primarily conduct opposition research on black victims of crime, to assert that King misrepresented himself as black when he is actually white. Right-wing media seized on the story, and Breitbart News repeatedly claimed that King "has been lying to the public about his race" and "has two white parents" listed on his birth certificate.
In an article titled "Why White People Seek Black Privilege," Breitbart's Ben Shapiro asserted that King "demonstrates one undeniable fact: being black in American in 2015 is perceived as a status symbol and an advantage."
The August 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends hyped the Re-NewsIt! "report" to claim that King "is not biracial, he is white," and guest host Anna Kooiman lamented that "it doesn't seem fair" that King was "deceiving people in order to raise [him]self to a higher level." Hosts on The Five used the report to declare it "sacrifices [the] credibility" of the Black Lives Matter movement.
On CNN, host Don Lemon reported that King is "facing some very tough questions today and tonight about his own race," adding that a source told CNN "that both King's parents are white." Lemon cited Breitbart News, asking, "Is this Rachel Dolezal 2.0?"
By August 20, the story started to unravel. As Gawker noted, MSNBC's Joy Reid provided a crucial piece of context reporting that the father listed on King's birth certificate is not his biological father. King later published an essay on DailyKos explaining his father was a black man with whom his mother had an affair.
The next day, CNN reversed course, backing off hyping "questions" surrounding King's race and instead reporting that "the source that bullied him into this story" intended "to discredit the [Black Lives Matter] movement."
Yet Breitbart News is still attacking King, arguing "if there was confusion about Shaun King's race, it's because he allowed it."
From the June 24 edition of CNN's CNN Tonight:
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From the June 22 edition of CNN's CNN Tonight:
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"The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over," announced the World Health Organization on May 9, declaring a cautious end to the deadly wave that claimed 4,700 Liberian lives since last summer. That outbreak, of course, eventually sparked panic in the United States last September and October when a handful of Ebola cases were confirmed domestically. Ebola mania raged in the media for weeks and became one of the biggest news stories of 2014.
So how did the American media cover the latest, good-news Ebola story in the days following the WHO announcement? Very, very quietly.
By my count, ABC News devoted just brief mentions of the story on Good Morning America and its Sunday talk show, This Week. On NBC, only the Today show noted the development, while CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News set aside brief mentions. None of the network newscasts have given this Ebola story full segments, according to a transcript search via Nexis.
A scattering of mentions on cable news and a handful of stories including in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among others, rounded out the remaining coverage in the past week.*
Pretty amazing, considering that late last year the U.S. news media were in the grips of self-induced Ebola hysteria. During one peak week, cable news channels mentioned "Ebola" over 4,000 times, while the Washington Post homepage one night featured at least 15 Ebola-related articles and columns, many of which focused on both the international crisis and the political dynamic, and the problems Ebola was supposedly causing President Obama.
That's not to say the tragic outbreak was not a big story worthy of any news coverage. It was, but American media went into overdrive hyping concerns that a deadly domestic outbreak was imminent -- only to rapidly forget.
The recent look-away coverage from Ebola shouldn't come as a surprise. The American media lost complete interest in the story right after Republicans lost interest in the story, which is to say right after last November's midterm elections, when they brandished Ebola as a partisan weapon.
That's no exaggeration. From Media Matters' research:
Prominent media figures including News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch criticized Muslims following the Paris terror attacks, claiming that Muslims have not been outspoken against extremist violence, despite prominent Muslim organizations immediately denouncing the attack.
On January 11, millions of people rallied in Paris against violence after extremist attacks in France left 17 people dead earlier in the week. World leaders including leaders from predominantly Muslim countries Mali and Jordan, and Palestinian territory President Mahmoud Abbas marched with French President François Hollande to denounce the violence.
Prominent Muslims and Muslim organizations also denounced the attacks. As religious studies scholar Reza Aslan pointed out on the January 11 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, anyone who wonders whether Muslim organizations and individuals are denouncing extremist attacks "doesn't own Google," because "every single organization, major organization, Muslim organization throughout the world ... has condemned, not just this attack, but every attack that occurs in the name of Islam."
The French and British Muslim Councils and the Arab League denounced the attacks Charlie Hebdo. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called the attack "brutal and cowardly."
In 2014, many Muslim organizations condemned the terror group the Islamic State as "nothing to do with Islam" and "morally repugnant," with the Muslim Public Affairs Council calling on "all people of conscience" to "stand against extremism."
But prominent media figures ignored the condemnations, instead criticizing Muslims for supposedly not being outspoken enough.
On January 9, Murdoch, who chairs Fox News' parent company, tweeted that Muslims should be "held responsible" for radical Islam "until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer":
Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.-- Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) January 10, 2015
Fox News hosts and guests also accused Muslims of not condemning extremist violence. Fox guest Monica Crowley said that Muslims "should be condemning" the violence. Bill O'Reilly went further, repeatedly shouting over his Muslim guests who tried to explain that Muslims are not only denouncing terrorism, but actually dying in the fight against it.
In another offensive display of the media's willingness to conflate Muslims with violent extremists, CNN's Don Lemon asked an American civil rights attorney who is Muslim, "Do you support ISIS?"
From the January 7 edition of CNN's CNN Tonight:
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This year, media coverage of issues affecting women often failed badly, from trivializing sexual assault to pushing inaccurate reports on pending state abortion restrictions. Below are nine major ways the media failed women in 2014.