ColorOfChange partnered with Media Matters for America to study the representation of Black people in local news reporting on crime.
The result is an outrageous level of distortion: while 2 out of every 4 people the NYPD arrest for murder, assault and theft are Black, 3 out of every 4 people the news media show as responsible for those crimes are Black. The exaggerated amount of Black faces linked to crime breeds suspicion and hostility toward Black people, as does the under-reporting of white-perpetrated crime. (And that’s not even factoring in the vicious over-targeting of Black people by police in the first place.)
With WABC being the worst, local news stations are singling out Black people — unfairly and disproportionately focusing their crime reporting on Black suspects, and inaccurately exaggerating the proportion of Black people involved in crime. They are reinforcing stereotypes and biases that have serious consequences for Black people in everyday life.
These stations have failed the most basic responsibility of journalism: to report the news accurately. Our News Accuracy Report Card evaluates each major network affiliate in New York City for their accuracy in crime reporting. They can and must do better.