Report: Fox News, CNN Prioritize Jodi Arias Coverage Over Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Fox News ignored the brutal murder of a gay man in New York City, which has been labeled a hate crime by local police, while CNN underreported the story. Even though the attack is part of a disturbing spike in anti-gay violence in New York, the cable networks instead focused on covering the proceedings in the trial against Jodi Arias.

Gay Man Murdered In New York City Subjected To Anti-Gay Slurs

Mark Carson, A Gay Man, Was Shot And Killed By Man Screaming Anti-Gay Slurs. According to The New York Times:

Mark Carson did not hide that he was gay, and when he went out on the town he would often head to Greenwich Village, where years before he was born, much of the struggle for gay liberation unfolded. Yet late Friday night, just blocks from the Stonewall Inn, among the most important landmarks of that struggle, he was confronted with a man screaming antigay slurs, who then stalked him before pulling out a silver revolver and fatally shooting him, the police said. [The New York Times, 5/18/13]

The Murder Has Been Labeled An Anti-Gay Hate Crime By Police. According to Slate:

A 33-year-old man with a criminal past was charged on Sunday with gunning down a gay man on a busy stretch of New York City's West Village, only blocks from what is considered to be the birthplace of the American gay rights movement. The alleged killer, police say, was motivated by only one thing: that his victim was gay.

“It's clear that the victim here was killed only because and just because he was thought to be gay,” New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a press conference. “There is no question about that. There were these derogatory remarks. The victim did nothing to antagonize or instigate the shooter in this case. It's only done because the shooter believed him to be gay.”

Elliot Morales was charged Sunday with murder as a hate crime, along with weapons charges, in the death of Mark Carson. [Slate, 5/20/13]

Carson's Murder Sparked A Rally Against Anti-Gay Violence In New York City. According to Mother Jones:

Blinding afternoon sun lit the biggest gay rights demonstration in years in New York's West Village Monday. The LGBT community and its supporters, including a couple of mayoral candidates, marched in the wake of a murder that has capped a month-long spate of homophobic violence.

Demonstrators--police say 1,500, organizers say many hundreds more--marched through the leafy streets that gave birth to the gay rights movement to the  corner where Mark Carson, 32, was shot in the face and killed Friday night as he walked with a friend. [Mother Jones, 5/21/13, emphasis added]

Analysis: Cable News Coverage Of Jodi Arias Trial Overshadowed Coverage Of Carson's Murder

Fox News, CNN Prioritized Jodi Arias Trial Over Ben Carson's Murder. According to an Equality Matters analysis, between May 19 and May 21, both Fox News and CNN underreported Mark Carson's murder, spending significantly more time covering the sentencing of Jodi Arias - a woman convicted of murdering her boyfriend:

  • Fox News Completely Ignored Carson's Murder But Spent More Than 30 Minutes Covering The Arias Trial.
  • CNN Devoted More Than 90 Minutes To The Arias Trial And Less Than One Minute Covering Carson's Murder.

CNN Mentioned Carson's Murder Only Once. According to an Equality Matters analysis, CNN mentioned Carson's murder only once, during the May 19 edition of Weekend Early Start:

  • MSNBC Was The Only Cable News Network To Devote A Full Segment To Covering Carson's Murder.

Anti-Gay Violence, Hate Crimes Are On The Rise

Carson's Murder Is The Latest In A Spree Of Anti-Gay Violence In New York. New York's police commissioner reported that anti-gay crimes in the city have spiked 70 percent this year. According to Business Insider:

There's been a spate of other anti-gay attacks in New York City recently. A man said he was gay bashed in the East Village just Monday. There were three other apparent anti-gay hate crimes in New York in May, Gothamist has reported.

On Tuesday, New York's police commissioner Ray Kelly said anti-gay hate crime in New York has spiked 70% this year. The New York City Anti-Violence Project -- which collects data on hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people -- saw a 13% increase in hate crime reports from 2010 to 2011. [Business Insider, 5/21/13]

FBI Statistics: Anti-Gay Violence Is On The Rise, Even As Other Hates Crimes Are Decreasing. According to the Los Angeles Times, hate crimes based on the victim's sexual orientation are on the rise:

More than 6,000 hate crimes were reported to U.S. law enforcement agencies in 2011 -- a 6% decrease from 2010, the FBI said Monday. But crimes based on the victim's sexual orientation increased slightly.


“The increase in the number of reported hate crimes directed against gays and lesbians, now the second most frequent category of crime, is especially disturbing,” the [Anti-Defamation League] said in a statement.

There were 1,508 reported sexual orientation hate crimes in 2011, up from 1,470 in 2010, an increase of about 2.6%. Overall, nearly 21% of hate crimes were motivated by sexual orientation bias, the FBI said, with men victimized the majority of the time. [Los Angeles Times, 12/10/12]


Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the words “Carson,” “gay,” “hate crime,” “Jodi,” and “Arias” between May 19 and May 21. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. One mention of Carson's murder during the May 19 edition of MSNBC's Weekends with Alex Witt was excluded because it was brought up by a guest and not by the show's host.