Big Three Networks Don't Care About OWS Crimes Until Democratic Mayors Do

Through the month of October, as this MRC study found, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks completely ignored the numerous charges of sexual assaults at OWS protests on their evening and morning news shows. In fact, it wasn’t until this weekend that one and only one network, ABC reported on the rape of a woman in Philadelphia, and that was only after that city’s Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter expressed concern about safety.

On the November 13 edition of ABC’s World News reporter Cecilia Vega mentioned: “In Occupy Philadelphia, an arrest after a woman was dragged into a tent and sexually assaulted.” Vega then threw it to a soundbite from Nutter charging: “Occupy Philly has changed. We’re seeing serious health and safety issues playing out on an almost daily basis. The people of Occupy Philly have also changed and their intentions have changed.”

The only other mention of the rape was earlier that morning, on This Week, where host Christiane Amanpour briefly noted: “And in Philadelphia, police say a woman was raped by a fellow protester in a tent set up outside city hall. The alleged attacker is under arrest.”

The sight of dead bodies didn’t exactly rouse the Big Three networks into outrage either. News that shootings at the Oakland protest resulted in deaths, over the weekend, didn’t spark an avalanche of stories. In fact there were no full stories on the deaths just briefs or mentions.



On NBC’s Today show the shooting deaths drew a total of just two briefs. Those briefs also mentioned two other bodies were found in tents in Oakland and that at the Vermont protest a man “apparently shot himself.”

On ABC, in the same November 13 story where Vega noted the rape, she also mentioned the Vermont suicide and that a dead body was found in a tent at Occupy Salt Lake.

On the November 11 edition of CBS’s The Early Show Terrell Brown alerted viewers that, “In Oakland, California last night a man was shot and killed just outside the anti-Wall Street demonstrations,” but then added: “Police say that shooting was apparently not related to the protest.” Brown also noted the Vermont suicide victim in the same report.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.