CNN Barely Touches Cop Convicted of Killing Unarmed White Woman

May 2nd, 2019 1:23 PM

In the aftermath of Tuesday's news that former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was convicted of killing an unarmed white woman, Justine Damond, CNN has stood out in showing very little interest in contrast with the liberal news network giving substantial coverage in recent months to cops being convicted of killing black suspects.

As each of the three broadcast networks on Tuesday evening devoted a full report to the story, CNN waited until early Wednesday morning to cover it, and even then buried it on its Early Start show with one brief running at 4:22 a.m. Eastern and a second running at 5:57 a.m., totaling just over a minute.



The network's flagship morning show, New Day, did not mention the development, and so far no other on CNN show has covered the outcome of the trial.

This muted reaction contrasts with the network's history of rushing to follow up on stories about high-profile trials regarding cops who had killed African American suspects, thus contributing to the misconception that most suspects killed by police are black when, in reality, only about 25 percent are black while close to 50 percent are white.

Last August, when former Dallas police officer Roy Oliver was convicted of killing unarmed teen Jordan Edwards, who was a passenger in a car trying to leave a party after police had received a call about gun shots in the area, CNN's New Day gave the story a full two-minute report, and the network as a whole gave the development more than 11 minutes across several shows.

In October, New Day began reporting the trial of former Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke while testimony was still being heard, and then returned to it after the guilty verdict, giving it a total of 11 minutes across two days. The show even revisited the case in January after Van Dyke was sentenced. The total time CNN gave to the story across several shows was more than 43 minutes, mostly in October right after the trial ended.



In the case of Stephon Clark, the decision not to charge Sacramento cops for killing him attracted enough attention from CNN for the network to devote just over 34 minutes to the development, including over four minutes on New Day. Clark had been suspected of vandalism and ran away when he was confronted by police officers who ended up mistaking his cell phone for a gun after he was cornered in his grandmother's yard.

And, although the March acquittal of a Pittsburgh police officer who was tried for killing unarmed teen Antwon Rose from last year did not receive as much attention on the network as other cases, New Day did at least include a brief on March 23, which is more than the show has done so far in the aftermath of the Noor trial. The show even managed to make room for Rose in spite of being preoccupied with the Mueller report at the time.

One irony is that CNN completely skipped over updating viewers on the case of Corey Jones, an African American motorist with a gun permit and no criminal record, who was shot by a plain clothes undercover Florida police officer in 2015 after Jones's car broke down late at night. The officer was convicted of murder largely because an audio recording of Jones speaking with road side service contradicted the officer's claim that he had identified himself as a cop before opening fire on Jones.

CNN oddly did not update viewers on this story in spite of there being a strong case against the officer, even though ABC, CBS, and Fox News carried it, while CNN showed more interest in other cases in which most suspects were less sympathetically involved in criminal activity before they were confonted by police.



Returning to the Justine Damond case, NewsBusters previously documented that, in the aftermath of Officer Noor killing Damond in July 2017 just weeks before the Australian national was to marry her American fiance, CNN and MSNBC both gave the story significant attention, but the news networks gave substantially less time than they did to the case of Stephon Clark eight months later.

MSNBC spent 10 times as much time on Clark, and CNN gave the Clark story 2.5 as much time as Damond's death. MSNBC has notably cut back substantially on covering police shooting stories over the past year, and has so far not updated viewers on the Noor trial's verdict. Fox News Channel ran a couple of briefs on Tuesday evening -- one on Special Report with Bret Baier, and one on Fox News at Night, while PBS Newshour covered the story on Wednesday evening.