CNN, MSNBC Barely Touch Murdered Cops, But Do Tout Meek Mill Release

April 27th, 2018 8:30 AM

Over the past couple of days, as FNC and the broadcast networks have informed viewers of two separate attacks on police officers that have left two dead, MSNBC has completely ignored the tragic events while CNN has buried its coverage early in the morning. By contrast, MSNBC spent more than 15 minutes across four different shows celebrating the release of rapper Meek Mill, and CNN also gave the story significantly more time that it did to the attacks on police officers.

After news broke that two police officers and a security guard were shot at a Home Depot in Dallas, the morning and evening newscasts covered the story on ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday. FNC's Fox and Friends covered the story on both Wednesday and Thursday morning. CNN only gave the story 35 seconds at 4:25 a.m. Eastern on the Early Start show.

By contrast, CNN's Early Start spent five and a half minutes discussing the Mill release on the same. And CNN's flagship morning show, New Day, spent just over a minute on Mill's release.

When news broke that a manhunt was under way for a man who murdered a police officer in Maine, ABC's World News Tonight gave it coverage on both Wednesday and Thursday, and the CBS Evening News gave it coverage on Thursday.

The only attention CNN gave to the Maine attack was in a 27-second brief at 4:17 a.m. Eastern Thursday morning.

FNC -- which notably did not mention the Meek Mill story at all -- between Wednesday and Thursday spent a total of more than 13 and a half minutes on both police shooting stories combined, airing on the news network's morning shows that run between 4:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

As for coverage of the Meek Mill release, while they may have a point that he deserves a new trial if one of the witnesses against him from his original trial has been deemed untrustworthy, the networks have promoted without question complaints that he was targeted because he is black. But one had to either be watching Wednesday's NBC Nightly News or CBS This Morning for it to be briefly noted that the judge in his case, Judge Genece Brinkley, is herself also black.

Additionally, reports have mostly buried the fact that his most recent jail sentence occurred after the rapper had a long history from the past decade of repeatedly violating probation -- including failing drug tests several times and using social media to cause death threats to be made against the judge and prosecution in his case.

In November 2017, appearing on CNN's Smerconish, former Pennsylvania Democratic state legislator Bryan Lentz argued that, even though he is personally in favor of reducing the sentences for some offenders, Mill's case was not so sympathetic since the judge had been lenient on him upfront in 2008 by giving him more probation but less jail time.

So journalists have operated largely as spokespersons for his defense attorney by pushing the argument that, because the initial prison sentence from 2008 was short, it must mean that the crime itself was not so bad when, in fact, the lighter prison sentence with longer probation was giving him a break.