CNN.com, USAToday.com Bury Coverage of 'Jena 6' Beating Victim

The websites of CNN and USAToday joined their "Big Three" network brethren in covering the march in Jena, Louisiana to support the so-called Jena 6, while at the same time, either burying mention of the teenager who was beaten by the six high school students, or not mentioning him at all.CNN.com’s report, in which CNN correspondents Susan Roesgen, Tony Harris, Kyra Philips and Eliott McLaughlin were contributors, didn’t mention Justin Barker until the twenty-second paragraph of the story.

The teens were initially charged with attempted murder after they allegedly knocked out Justin Barker -- a white classmate -- while stomping and kicking him during a school fight on December 4, 2006.Barker was taken to a hospital with injuries to both eyes and ears as well as cuts. His right eye had blood clots, said his mother, Kelli Barker.

Before this, the report focused entirely on the planned march in support of the so-called Jena 6.CNN followed the report on the victim with a statement from the local district attorney in Louisiana.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters urged the world not to forget the victim in the case."The injury done to him and threats to his survival have become less than a footnote," Walters said Wednesday."This case has not, never has been about race. It's about finding justice for an innocent victim, holding people accountable for their actions. That is what it's about," he said.

USAToday.com’s report on the march, written by Marisol Bello, did not mention Justin Barker at all, but focused exclusively on the march and the prosecution of one of the teenagers charged in the beating.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center