Target: CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News, and other mainstream news networks
Goal: Stop the over-showing of violence in the current Baltimore protests over the many images of peaceful gathering.
Mainstream media sources have been covering Baltimore protests after it was found that a black man’s spine was severed in three places after an encounter with city police. Unfortunately, most of what news organizations like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox have been showing are isolated incidents of violence and property destruction when the vast majority of the protests have been peaceful.
This is a problem due to the fact that most of the protesters are black persons fighting against police violence against the black community, and the stereotype that often leads to incidents of unnecessary force is that black people are more aggressive and violent than others. When news outlets mainly show fights breaking out without putting those fights into context or demonstrating that the protests have been mostly peaceful, they feed into the stereotype that black people are dangerous, which is what gets them killed by police, which is why these protests are happening. It’s a vicious cycle.
National news organizations need to take some responsibility for the way they frame the Baltimore protests and others like it. People outside of Baltimore can’t see what’s actually happening for themselves, so many rely on the most popular outlets to show it to them. Therefore the way a large chunk of the U.S. population views the protesters is framed by these outlets. If the news only shows violence to get better ratings and fails to show images of black people cleaning up and helping one another, people are going to think that the protesters are mostly violent.
Journalists have a duty to expose the truth. What many news organizations have shown is not accurate according to the people who are actually in Baltimore. Plenty of individual protesters have taken photos and video showing peaceful rallies or showing that incidents of violence were instigated by belligerent outsiders or the police. Companies like CNN and MSNBC should be showing the same if they want to give people an accurate view of these demonstrations.
By signing this petition, you’ll urge these news networks to do what they’ve vowed to do as journalists and show the true nature of the Baltimore protests, not just the violent parts. This grieving community deserves this basic level of respect and should not have to worry about false stereotypes being reinforced because they’re defending themselves.
Dear Mr. Zucker, Mr. Burke, Mr. Ailes, et. al,
Your coverage of the Baltimore protests against police brutality has so far been woefully one-sided. The images and video footage you’ve chosen to show have mainly been of isolated incidents of violence, many of which are taken out of context. You fail to show how drunk and belligerent white individuals have started many of the brawls that have taken place or that at least some of the time, aggression toward the police was actually in self-defense.
As news outlets and journalists, you’re supposed to represent the truth to the people. By over-representing incidents of violence and property destruction and leaving out images of protesters demonstrating peacefully, supporting one another, cleaning up streets, giving out food, etc., you’re failing to accurately portray the situation. Worse, by doing so, you’re reinforcing the stereotype that black people are more violent and aggressive than others, which is part of what contributes to cases of unarmed black individuals being shot and killed unnecessarily by police.
You have a responsibility to truth and fairness, but have chosen to forsake these for sensationalism and better ratings. Your greed is actively hurting people and communities and it needs to stop now. I demand that you make a commitment toward better representation of the people of Baltimore and all future protests put on by black communities.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The All-Nite Images via Wikimedia Commons