Tucker Carlson and guest Bernard Kerik

Research/Study Research/Study

Fox has hosted three times more police than advocates to discuss the murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests

  • As nationwide protests continue over the police killing of George Floyd and related issues of racism and police brutality, Fox News has featured three times more police than members of advocacy organizations during guest appearances in its coverage. While CNN and MSNBC have either led with advocates’ voices or invited on equal numbers of law enforcement officials and advocates, Fox’s law enforcement guests have greatly outnumbered those who work for advocacy organizations.

    According to Media Matters’ internal database, which covers weekday cable news programming, from May 26 through 5 p.m. EDT on June 4, Fox News has hosted three times more current and former police officers than advocates -- 48 police guest appearances compared to only 15 advocate appearances. Alternatively, MSNBC hosted far more advocates than police in its coverage, with 73 advocate appearances and 30 police appearances. CNN’s representation was nearly even at 35 advocate appearances and 36 police appearances in its coverage. 

  • Police and advocate chart
  • Fox’s protest coverage often emphasized violence toward police and instances of looting rather than highlighting the largely peaceful protests across the country, despite extensive documentation of police brutality against protesters. Fox’s choice of advocacy guests is also revealing: The network hosted Darrell Scott, who currently leads the National Diversity Coalition for Trump; Alveda King, who is known for her prominent anti-abortion advocacy and pro-Trump views, and Angela Stanton-King; who recently received a federal pardon from the president and is now running for Democratic Rep. John Lewis’ Georgia congressional seat, among others.   

    While appearing on Fox’s The Ingraham Angle, Scott blamed “the left” for spreading “racial tension,” adding, “I really don’t think it’s there.” During the same appearance, Stanton-King argued that the protests are “not about race,” saying, “This is not a fight against black or white or police officer or civilian. This is good versus evil.”

  • Video file
  • By featuring significantly more members of police forces, Fox's coverage often presented a pro-police lens to viewing Floyd’s killing and the resulting protests that obscured the racial justice issues that people are protesting for. One such guest, former NYPD commissioner and fellow Trump pardon recipient Bernie Kerik, used Fox’s platform to claim that “systemic racism is a farce.” 

    These guest appearances are another chapter in Fox News’ long history of problematic coverage surrounding police brutality and racism. 

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters’ internal database includes weekday cable news programming on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC between the hours of 6 a.m. EDT and midnight. Segments are coded in near-real time by analysts for pertinent information. We searched our database for guest segments from May 26 through 5:00 p.m. EDT on June 4, 2020, that included “George Floyd” in the segment notes.

    We coded as advocates any persons who primarily work or volunteer for public-interest advocacy organizations or institutions. We coded as police any current or former employees of any police department across the U.S. We did not code current or former federal agents, district or state attorneys, or federal prosecutors as police.