Cable News Largely Silent On Report Finding “Systemic Racism” In Chicago Police Department

Cable News Largely Silent On Report Finding “Systemic Racism” In Chicago Police Department

Fox News Did Not Cover The Report After Frequently Dismissing Concerns Over Police Actions In Chicago

››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

Cable news only devoted just over two minutes of coverage to findings of “systemic racism” in the Chicago Police Department after a Chicago task force released a “blistering” report. Although the report made the front page of The New York Times, MSNBC and CNN spent less than two minutes each on covering the report while Fox News -- which has regularly dismissed protests over police brutality and systemic racism in Chicago -- failed to cover the report at all.

Chicago Task Force Finds Police Department “Plagued By Systemic Racism”

NY Times: Task Force Finds Chicago Police Department “Plagued By Systemic Racism.” According to an April 13 New York Times report, a Chicago task force appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel found that “racism has contributed to a long pattern of institutional failures by the Chicago Police Department (C.P.D.) in which officers have mistreated people, operated without sufficient oversight, and lost the trust of residents.” The Times described the report as “blistering, blunt and backed up by devastating statistics,” and the task force wrote that the “C.P.D.’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” The report concluded that “the community’s lack of trust in C.P.D. is justified”:

Racism has contributed to a long pattern of institutional failures by the Chicago Police Department in which officers have mistreated people, operated without sufficient oversight, and lost the trust of residents, a task force appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has found.

The report, issued on Wednesday, was blistering, blunt and backed up by devastating statistics. Coincidentally, it was released as city leaders were installing a new, permanent superintendent for the Chicago Police Department.

“C.P.D.’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color,” the task force wrote. “Stopped without justification, verbally and physically abused, and in some instances arrested, and then detained without counsel — that is what we heard about over and over again.”

The report reinforces complaints made for decades by African-American residents who have said they were unfairly singled out by officers without justification on a regular basis, then ignored when they raised complaints.

[...]

The task force amassed data that shows the extent to which African-Americans appear to have been disproportionately focused on by the police. In a city where whites, blacks and Hispanics each make up about one-third of the population, 74 percent of the 404 people shot by the Chicago police between 2008 and 2015 were black, the report said. Black people were the subjects in 72 percent of the thousands of investigative street stops that did not lead to arrests during the summer of 2014.

Three out of every four people on whom Chicago police officers tried to use Taser guns between 2012 and 2015 were black. And black drivers made up 46 percent of police traffic stops in 2013.

“The community’s lack of trust in C.P.D. is justified,” according to the report, a draft summary of which was first reported in The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday afternoon. “There is substantial evidence that people of color — particularly African-Americans — have had disproportionately negative experiences with the police over an extended period of time.” [The New York Times, 4/13/16]

CNN And MSNBC Each Spent Less Than Two Minutes Covering Report

MSNBC Dedicated One Minute 38 Seconds To Covering Report. According to a Media Matters analysis, MSNBC aired one segment on the report across its programming. The April 14 edition of Way Too Early, which airs at 5 a.m., spent one minute and 38 seconds covering the Chicago report. [MSNBC, Way Too Early, 4/14/16]

CNN Dedicated 27 Seconds To Covering Report. According to a Media Matters analysis, CNN aired one segment on the report across its programming. The April 14 edition of Early Start, which airs at 4 a.m., spent 27 seconds covering the Chicago report. [CNN, Early Start with John Berman and Christine Romans, 4/14/16]

Fox News Was Completely Silent On The Report

Fox News Did Not Air Any Segments Covering Report. According to a Media Matters analysis, Fox News did not air a single segment covering the Chicago report across its programming. [Media Matters, 4/14/16]

Fox Has Frequently Dismissed Concerns Over Police Actions While Hyping "Black-On-Black Crime" Canard In Chicago

Sean Hannity And Mike Tobin Asked A Black Chicago Protester “Why Is There Not The Outrage When There’s Black-On-Black Violence.” On the November 24 edition of Hannity, correspondent Mike Tobin reported on protests responding to the release of video showing the shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer. Host Sean Hannity and Tobin asked a protester, “Why is there not the outrage when there’s black-on-black violence?” rather than police violence. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/24/15]

Fox Host Martha MacCallum: “Outrage” Against Police Brutality And The Deaths Of African-Americans In Chicago “Is Somewhat Selective” On the November 24 edition of America’s Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum belittled protests over McDonald’s death, asking, “Where are the protesters for the children who are caught in the crossfire in Chicago?” MacCallum continued that the she understood “it is a different situation when you are dealing with a police officer, obviously, but there is a problem going on in the city of Chicago … and it appears that the outrage is somewhat selective.” Guest Lars Larson responded that the Black Lives Matter movement was “bigoted” for only focusing on “the shootings of black citizens by police." MacCallum then concluded that “the most important message” of McDonald’s death is to obey the police:

MARTHA MACCALLUM (HOST): Obviously at the outset, this is a tragic loss of a 17-year-old boy. It is also a devastating situation, no doubt, for the policeman. And we don't know all of the facts of this case. We have learned this lesson in a very tough way, really, over the course of what we have seen played out in Ferguson and other places, and we have learned that you have to wait and you have to know all of the circumstances before you can really figure this out.

[...]

LARS LARSON: I've got to tell you, Martha, this is so wrong. Because first of all, this man was not unarmed, he had a knife, and the majority of those people shot by police -- by the statistics available -- are armed. Further, I don't understand what the protests were about last night. The community is angry, I understand that. They wanted the family compensated, that happened six months ago, they want the officer charged, that happened yesterday. And you knew almost from the get-go that this was a bad shooting because the officer continued to shoot after the man was already down and no longer a threat. So, what was the protest last night looking for? The city officials from Chicago, Rahm Emanuel and others, have promised to make changes. They may not happen, but the fact is they've promise to make the changes. So what was the point of a protest like this?

[...]

MACCALLUM: One thing that needs to also be discussed -- where are the protesters for the children who are caught in the crossfire in Chicago? For the 400 some people who have been killed in that city over the course of this year. The murder rate is up by 14 percent. And I understand it is a different situation when you are dealing with a police officer, obviously, but there is a problem going on in the city of Chicago, Lars, and it appears that the outrage is somewhat selective.

LARSON: Well, it's not only selective, it's bigoted. The very fact that Black Lives Matter only focuses on the shootings of black citizens by police. In the majority of cases people who are shot by the police are shot for good reason because they are a threat.

[...]

MACCALLUM: And the reports are that this young man was on PCP, he had a knife, and he was resisting going to the police officers. And there's another message for young people right here -- when the police want to talk to you, you need to put down whatever is in your hands and you need to go over and talk to them. Emily, isn't that the most important message to save people's lives, like this young man, who obviously needed help for a number of reasons?

EMILY SUSSMAN: Yes, look, he absolutely did. And there are speculations, and we see on the video that he may have had a knife, but I also think that we need to remember that carrying a knife is not illegal, and if his past experience has not been that police have been respectful and cooperative, look, it goes both ways.

[...]

MACCALLUM: How many situations where someone turns around and says, OK, I have got a gripe with you, police officer, but I'm going to go with you, and then we're going to hash this out. This young man should not have been walking away from police who were asking him to come over and talk to them because it ended in absolute tragic circumstances for him and for his family. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 11/25/15]

Fox Guest Hyped "Black-On-Black" Homicide Rates In Chicago To Discredit Black Lives Matter. On the September 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity, guest Larry Elder dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement as "people whining and bitching and moaning about nonsense." Elder added that if they "really want to talk about Black Lives Matter," they would focus more on "black people murdered [by] other black people," pointing to Chicago specifically. Host Sean Hannity agreed, later adding that there are more incidents “of black-on-black crime than incidents involving the police":

LARRY ELDER: This is about people whining and bitching and moaning about nonsense. If they really want to talk about Black Lives Matter, the fact is that last year 6,000 black people murdered other black people. Where are they on that? And the number one preventable cause of death for young black men is homicide at the hands of other black men. The number one preventable cause of death for young white men are car accidents. And the last 30 years, there's been a 75 percent reduction against police shooting black people, while the numbers of whites being shot have flat-lined. It is nonsense. If the Black Lives Matter people really want to do something, come down to South Central where I live. Come to Chicago, come to Camden, come to Ferguson where crime has gone up, generally speaking, if black people are being victimized.

[...]

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Wait a minute, it is 57 times higher -- the incident of black-on-black crime than incidents involving the police. [Fox News, Hannity, 9/1/15]

Methodology:

Media Matters searched IQ Media, Snapstream, and Nexis transcripts of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel for the terms “Chicago,” “Chicago AND Police,” and “Emanuel” from 4 p.m. April 13, when The New York Times published its report, through 4 p.m. on April 14.

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