STUDY: Fox News Falls Dramatically Short In Alton Sterling Shooting Coverage

CNN And MSNBC Provided Over 15 Times As Much Coverage

A Media Matters analysis of the three cable networks’ coverage of the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, a black man, in Baton Rouge, LA, found that Fox News devoted less than 7 minutes to the shooting, while CNN and MSNBC each covered the shooting extensively and aired several related press conferences. Media Matters analyzed the cable networks’ coverage between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. on July 6, the day after the shooting.

Police Fatally Shoot Alton Sterling, A Black Man, In Baton Rouge

Justice Department Opens Civil Rights Investigation Into Sterling’s Death. The Department of Justice “opened a civil rights investigation” following the “fatal shooting of a black man by the Baton Rouge police,” The New York Times reported. Police fatally shot Alton Sterling on July 5, and the incident was “partially captured on video.” [The New York Times, 7/6/16]

Fox News Fell Significantly Short Of Other Networks In Shooting Coverage

Fox News Covered The Shooting For Less Than 7 Minutes; CNN And MSNBC Each Devoted Over 90 Minutes. A Media Matters analysis found that Fox News devoted only 6 minutes, 17 seconds to reporting on the shooting, spanning six different segments. CNN covered the shooting for 1 hour, 57 minutes, 4 seconds, across 15 segments. MSNBC reported on the shooting for 1 hour, 40 minutes, 32 seconds, across 17 segments.

Fox Did Not Air Audio Of Any Of The Related Press Conferences

Fox Was The Only Cable Network Not To Air Press Conferences Regarding The Shooting. A Media Matters analysis found that while CNN and MSNBC both aired live coverage of three separate press conferences regarding the shooting -- one from Sterling’s attorney and family, one from Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, and one from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards -- Fox News did not carry any of the press conferences live with audio, playing only a short portion of the Sterling family press conference without sound.


Media Matters reviewed raw video through Snapstream on the three cable networks -- CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC -- from 6 a.m. through 1 p.m. on July 6, 2016, for the terms “Alton Sterling,” “Baton Rouge,” “Louisiana,” or “shooting.” We identified segments about the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling as those where the shooting was the stated topic of discussion, and we timed those segments and any teasers for those segments.

Chart by Sarah Wasko