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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Media coverage of the Trayvon Martin case

Oh Fox News, you've done it again.

Although the whole nation seems to be talking about the ethics of shooting an unarmed black teenager and its implications for justice, this is actually not true. After all, the most watched news station on TV in the United States is simply not covering it.

From Think Progress:

Since his tragic death on February 26, Trayvon Martin — an unarmed 17-year-old African-American shot by “neighborhood watch volunteer” George Zimmerman — has become national news. Martin, a good student with no criminal record, was killed by Zimmerman on his way home from the 7-11.

Zimmerman was carrying a 9 millimeter handgun. Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. (If you are unfamilar with the story, check out our primer on what everyone should know about Trayvon Martin.)

Martin has merited coverage by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today. The story has been covered by all three broadcast networks and extensively on cable. But there is one outlet that has barely mentioned Trayvon Martin — Fox News.

We can all speculate about what would motivate Fox News to ignore such a story (as well as try to answer why CNN would focus on it so much).

In my humble opinion, the lack of coverage by Fox is just further evidence that they are only interested in certain kinds of stories -- basically anything that makes Democrats or Barack Obama look bad (this is not to say they don't deserve attention or blame for some things, just that this is the only issue Fox seems to be focused on).

Interestingly, I could see Fox News spinning this story into a narrative that is critical of Obama and the Democrats -- some kind of gun control story perhaps. But their silence speaks volumes.

An unarmed black teenagers was gunned down in cold blood by a man with an obsession about crime prevention and an overriding perception of crime as exclusively a black phenomenon. And Fox News wants nothing to do with it.

1 comment:

  1. I opened the Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC pages to look and see if this diagram was still somewhat accurate. MSNBC has a giant picture on the front of their webpage about Trayvon's murder, CNN has a smaller video under another story, but Fox News has a small sentence linked to an article in the middle of the page with no picture. So as of 8pm 3/21/2012, Fox News still isn't bringing too much attention to Trayvon's story. Looking at the titles of all three articles shows a similar pattern. CNN's says, "Outrage Grows", and MSNBC's says, "Outrage across US over Trayvon Martin shooting". However, Fox News not surprisingly titles its article, "Neighborhood watch leader may have uttered racial slur before shooting Florida teen". Fox says he "may" have said something racist, but they don't even admit that he said anything. This supports what we commonly assume is a conservative bias within Fox News. News about a black boy getting murdered by a half white man would not sit well with Fox's views when it comes to race and street crime. The conservative view usually makes the black man out to be the bad guy, but in this case it is the opposite. People that only get their news from Fox may skip right over this article, and may not even know about the outrage that is erupting all over the country. This is just one example of the bias in media, and specifically conservative bias in Fox News.