Update (9/1/20): This article has been updated with two more Sinclair reports that began airing on August 31.
Update (9/2/20): A September 1 report by Sinclair national correspondent Kristine Frazao finally mentioned the alleged gunman who killed two protesters on August 25 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Five separate nationally aired Sinclair Broadcast Group reports on protests against the police shooting of Black resident Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, did not mention that a right-wing 17-year-old had allegedly killed two people and severely wounded a third during the protests.
On August 23, police in Kenosha were recorded shooting Blake multiple times in the back at close range, sparking nationwide outrage and protests. Blake is reportedly paralyzed and has suffered other extensive injuries from the police shooting, and he had also been shackled to his hospital bed by police. NBA players, led by the Milwaukee Bucks, conducted a strike on August 26 to draw attention to the injustice. Right-wing media, especially Fox News, have attempted to justify the police shooting of Blake.
The protests against the police violence became deadly the night of August 25 not because of violence from the protesters, but because of violence directed at them. The alleged shooter, who came from out of state and brought a rifle, was shown on graphic footage firing into a crowd of protesters attempting to stop him after he already shot one person. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the suspected shooter’s social media presence indicated that he considered himself to be part of a self-styled militia. The newspaper also reported that the armed vigilante group was openly supported by police who tossed them water bottles and thanked them for their help. He is also reportedly a Trump supporter and was in the front row of a Trump rally in January. The alleged shooter was arrested in Illinois and has been charged with multiple counts of murder. Fox News is, in a new low, defending these shootings as well.
But many viewers of the Sinclair-owned or -operated stations who learned about the Kenosha protests from reports by Sinclair national correspondents Kristine Frazao and Ahtra Elnashar would not know about these fatal shootings.
In an August 27 report, Frazao failed to mention the shootings allegedly committed by the 17-year-old suspect, instead dishonestly framing the protesters seeking justice as the source of violence in the community. This misleading report aired on at least 27 Sinclair stations in 27 states including the Green Bay/Appleton market in Wisconsin, according to a transcript search of the Kinetiq video database.
The following day, Sinclair national correspondent Ahtra Elnashar reported on the Kenosha protests. But Elnashar also failed to mention the shooting that killed two people, while calling some of the protesters violent. Elnashar’s report aired on at least 50 Sinclair stations in 37 states, including Wisconsin.
A second report from Frazao began airing on Sinclair stations Sunday night. Frazao led off her report with the shooting death of a member of a right-wing group in Portland, Oregon, yet when she pivoted to the ongoing protests in Kenosha and Jacob Blake’s family calling for peace, she once again failed to mention the killings of protesters there. Frazao’s second report aired on at least 52 stations in 37 states, including Wisconsin.
On Monday evening, Frazao reported that Trump is preparing to visit Kenosha, but she still omitted the slaying of two protesters in the city. At the time of this update, this report had aired on at least 34 Sinclair stations in 31 states, including Wisconsin.
A report Frazao gave the same morning, which aired on at least 56 stations in 40 states and Washington, D.C. -- again including Wisconsin -- was particularly disgraceful. In her report, Frazao noted that Black Lives Matter protests of police violence against George Floyd and others have gone on for nearly 100 days, “during which time more lives have been lost.” Yet, as she played video of a protest in Kenosha, the only lost life she mentioned was that of a supporter of a violent far-right group in Portland, Oregon.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s national correspondents have a documented history of ignoring the violence committed against Black Lives Matter protesters, and instead focusing on instances of property destruction and accusations of violence allegedly committed by the protesters.
Does Sinclair believe that the lives of Black Lives Matter protesters don’t matter? With at least five distinct reports from Sinclair national reporters which have mentioned the Kenosha protests but omitted the slaying of two protesters there, Sinclair seems to have made an editorial decision to leave this information out of its national-level reporting.
Fox News, led by its prime-time host Tucker Carlson, has already positioned itself to defend the vigilante violence against protesters in Kenosha. How far behind is Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has for months vilified many protesters as violent while refusing to report that they suffer from violent attacks?