Last week, ColorOfChange released, “Not To Be Trusted: Dangerous Levels of Inaccuracy in TV Crime Reporting in NYC," a new study highlighting discrepancies in local nightly news reporting on crime. ColorOfChange collaborated with Media Matters for America to examine the disproportional New York City news crime coverage on Blacks and the negative implications it has for the Black community.
The full report paints a damaging picture of how racial and implicit bias exists not only among people but also in the crime coverage. One of the key findings is that local news stations imply that 3 out of 4 New Yorkers arrested for assault and murder are Black; however, NYPD stats show that Blacks represent only 2 out of 4 people arrested for those crimes.
The appalling findings led ColorOfChange to issue a “report card” to four local news stations in NYC. WABC failed with an “F”, while WCBS and WNBC each scored a “D,", underscoring that three out of the four major network affiliate stations overwhelming overrepresented Blacks as criminals in their crime coverage of murder, assault and theft. WNYW/FOX5 scored the highest with a “B”.
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange, said “Not only are these stations over reporting Black crime, they’re systematically under-reporting White crime. Local news in New York City has failed the most basic responsibility of journalism: to report the news accurately.”
D. Smith is a freelance writer who frequently writes on issues of police brutality.