Mainstream media are calling out conservative outlets such as Fox News for connecting the Black Lives Matter movement to the deaths of police officers and increases in crime, writing that such claims “have a lack of evidence” and are based on “junk science and political opportunism.”
Mainstream Media Denounce Conservative Outlets For Evidence-Free Claims Connecting Black Lives Matter To Police Deaths And Increases In Crime
Vox: Fox News Blames “Black Lives Matter For Inciting Violence Against Both Police And Civilians -- Despite The Lack Of Evidence For The Claims.” In a September 2 article, Vox blasted Fox News personalities such as Bill O'Reilly and network contributor Katie Pavlich for pushing the myth that Black Lives Matter incites “violence against both police and civilians” despite a “lack of evidence” to support the assertion:
On Tuesday, conservative pundit Katie Pavlich told Fox News's Megyn Kelly that Black Lives Matter is now “a movement that promotes the execution of police officers.” The day before, Bill O'Reilly and a Fox & Friends segment suggested Black Lives Matter is “a hate group.” And last weekend, a Texas sheriff linked a deputy's death to “out of control” rhetoric from Black Lives Matter.
This criticism of Black Lives Matter, which aims to squash racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and its protests is becoming increasingly standard, with pundits on Fox News and elsewhere blaming Black Lives Matter for inciting violence against both police and civilians -- despite the lack of evidence for the claims. [Vox, 9/2/15]
New York Times: Conservative “Acolytes In The News Media Are Trying To Demonize” Black Lives Matter And “Cover Up An Unpleasant Truth” About Violence Against Black People. A September 3 editorial from The New York Times criticized conservative “acolytes in the news media” who are attempting to “demonize” the Black Lives Matter movement by casting their rhetoric as “an inflammatory of even hateful anti-white expression,” explaining that doing so dismisses “an unpleasant truth” about the history of violence against black communities:
The Republican Party and its acolytes in the news media are trying to demonize the protest movement that has sprung up in response to the all-too-common police killings of unarmed African-Americans across the country. The intent of the campaign -- evident in comments by politicians like Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky -- is to cast the phrase “Black Lives Matter” as an inflammatory or even hateful anti-white expression that has no legitimate place in a civil rights campaign.
The “Black Lives Matter” movement focuses on the fact that black citizens have long been far more likely than whites to die at the hands of the police, and is of a piece with this history. Demonstrators who chant the phrase are making the same declaration that voting rights and civil rights activists made a half-century ago. They are not asserting that black lives are more precious than white lives. They are underlining an indisputable fact -- that the lives of black citizens in this country historically have not mattered, and have been discounted and devalued. People who are unacquainted with this history are understandably uncomfortable with the language of the movement. But politicians who know better and seek to strip this issue of its racial content and context are acting in bad faith. They are trying to cover up an unpleasant truth and asking the country to collude with them. [The New York Times, 9/3/15]
The Nation: Conservative Media Linking “A New Crime Wave” To Black Lives Matter Are Engaging In “Junk Science And Political Opportunism.” In a September 3 article, The Nation debunked conservative media's claim that the Black Lives Matter movement is leading to an increase in crime in major cities, explaining that the assertion “is both junk science and political opportunism”:
Much has been made in recent months of a series of isolated crime increases in a handful of US cities. Breathless accounts of a new crime wave have appeared in both liberal and conservative media. Right-wing pundits and some police leaders have claimed that there is a “Ferguson effect”--a significant crime increase due to the “Black Lives Matter” protests against police violence. This is both junk science and political opportunism.
The New York Times recently reported that a couple dozen US cities have experienced increases in murders, and a few others some increase in other violent crimes. While any uptick in serious crime should be of concern, short-term changes in a few crime categories is thin evidence of a sustained national trend. In fact, in most parts of the country, crime in general, and murder rates in particular, continue to go down. While New York City, one site of ongoing protest, had a spike in homicides in the early part of the year, the city just completed the “safest summer in 25 years” according to Commissioner Bill Bratton. In addition, a new report by the Sentencing Project shows that in St. Louis, the uptick in homicides actually was well underway before the death of Michael Brown.
Even in cities that have experienced some increase in homicides, there has been no increase in other crimes. Why would a reduction in policing (as claimed by proponents of the “Ferguson effect”) result in more homicides but fewer robberies, burglaries, and auto thefts? The fact is that while homicide numbers are considered very accurate, they are such rare occurrences that it is very dangerous to draw any conclusions about broader crime trends from limited periods of time. Six months of homicide data is not enough to predict what year-end numbers will look like, and it's bad journalism and worse science to do so. [The Nation, 9/3/15]
Mother Jones: “Conservatives Have Long Attempted To Discredit Black Social Movements By Casting Them As Criminal.” Mother Jones called out conservative outlets like Fox News for having “bent over backward to find a way to connect the killing” of a Texas police deputy to the Black Lives Matter movement without any evidence to support their claim. Writing that it is “not a new tactic from the right,” the article outlined how “conservatives have long attempted to discredit black social movements by casting them as criminal”:
In the wake of last Friday's murder of a Harris County, Texas, police deputy, Fox News pundits have bent over backward to find a way to connect the killing to the Black Lives Matter movement. A guest on the Fox talk show The Five on Monday called the movement a “criminal organization,” and several hosts, including Bill O'Reilly, described it as a “hate group.”
Harris County law enforcement officials have yet to determine a motive for the shooting, and suspect Shannon Miles had been found mentally incompetent to stand trial on a felony assault charge in 2012. But that hasn't stopped Fox News from showing a recent clip of protesters at the Minnesota State Fair chanting, “Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon,” as pundits discussed the Texas killing, or from running inflammatory on-screen banners that read “Murder Movement” and “Black Lives Matter Taunts Cop Killings.”
But this is not a new tactic from the right. Conservatives have long attempted to discredit black social movements by casting them as criminal. In fact, the law-and-order rhetoric they've espoused since the civil rights movement was invented to do just that.
Now Fox News has targeted the Black Lives Matter movement in the same way. The movement is calling for an end to violence, and its national voices have condemned violence against the police on numerous occasions. But the right insists it is to blame for murders of police officers. The number of peaceful protests dwarfs the number that have seen looting and property destruction, but conservative pundits insist Black Lives Matter protesters are “thugs” and that the movement's rhetoric encourages violence. Just as they sought to discredit the movement to upset the Jim Crow social order, these right-wing voices now seek to discredit the movement to upend the current system of racist policing.
Murders of police aren't the fault of the Black Lives Matter movement. But don't expect to hear that on Fox News anytime soon. [Mother Jones, 9/4/15]