Commentary

Is The News Media Distorting Coverage Of Protests?

Peaceful protests don't make for compelling news stories, which may explain why many Americans said in a recent survey that the media is too focused on looting and violence in recent weeks.

Pew Research findings suggest that news outlets may be giving a distorted picture of what most people are experiencing first-hand.

The killing of George Floyd while in police custody and subsequent protests against racism and police brutality have dominated the news since late May.

In many cases, it has overtaking coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which has received blanket coverage since March. Many of the protests have been peaceful, but that coverage tends to get buried.

Pew Research Center asked U.S. adults to rate six story lines about the protests, including stories about looting and violence. Forty-four percent of respondent said acts of violence and destruction have gotten too much attention -- a higher percentage than for the other five story lines. Conversely, 51% of people say nonviolent protests are getting too little coverage.
Younger audiences are especially hungry for coverage about the protests.

Two-thirds of adults ages 18 to 29 say news organizations are giving too little coverage to nonviolent protests, while 59% say the larger issue of race relations isn't getting enough attention -- more than any other age group.

The finding may indicate that newspapers need to put more resources into these stories, though market considerations aren't supposed to affect the news judgment of journalists. Still, newspapers exist to serve the needs of readers, many of whom want more coverage of these events.
 
1 comment about "Is The News Media Distorting Coverage Of Protests?".
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  1. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development, June 15, 2020 at 10:09 a.m.

    "If it bleeds, it leads" has always been the standard and remains so... sadly. What a disservice!

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