A Week Later: Networks Continue to Use Debunked ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’

March 12th, 2015 2:17 PM

After two police officers in Ferguson, Mo. were shot by protesters in the early hours March 12 following the announced resignation of Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson, the media has been complicit in continuing to spread false information on the Michael Brown case. 

Ferguson protesters’ “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” chant was officially debunked as false by the DOJ March 5, yet the networks have continued used it several times without noting, as CNN did, that it’s not true. 

On CBS Evening News March 9, Dean Reynolds reported on protesters filling the Wisconsin state capitol building holding “Black Lives Matter” signs and shouting, what Reynolds called “a familiar chant”:  

Why did Reynolds not take the extra second to also point out that this “familiar chant” was debunked by autopsy reports months ago, and officially declared false by the DOJ a full week ago? Maybe because the networks have used this phrase 140 times in their reporting since the Michael Brown shooting and it would be too embarrassing to admit they’ve been reporting on false information all this time. 

CBS wasn’t the only network to reference the chant without noting its fatuousness; ABC’s This Week March 8 and NBC’s Today show March 5 also broadcast the phrase without comment. 

In this case, the networks should take a note from CNN. CNN anchors Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper both reported in the past week that the contentious phrase was false.