On the 12th of April 2015, Freddie Gray was arrested for allegedly having possession of a switchblade. A week later he was dead. His death was attributed to a spinal cord injury sustained whilst in police custody. On the evening of his funeral, the city of Baltimore expressed their grief and anger towards the ongoing slaughter of African Americans at the hands of white police. It was days of peaceful protests, with a minority starting trouble. How different media outlets covered the story highlights the issue of bias in journalism.
Fox News chose to report the violent side of the protests, focusing on the destruction of the property rather than what the people of Baltimore were protesting for,” Dozens of people arrested, hundreds of vehicles damaged and a CVS pharmacy set blaze”.
Whilst covering the story, Fox News made numerous factual errors including using an image of a riot from Venezuela and claiming it was Baltimore in flames. They later apologised for their mistake but shows their bias towards the situation clouded the necessity to ensure the facts were correct. This was the image they wanted America and the world to see when the covered the unrest in Baltimore.
Aljazeera investigated how the US coverage showed its audience a one-sided and ill-informed view of the protests and described it as a “newsrooms dominated by white people who don’t have a connection and don’t care to have an understanding about the issues.”
Black Westchester, an online magazine covers news stories from the perspective of African Americans. Rather than focusing on the destruction, they ran a story about the 10,000 people involved in the peaceful protest, “the truth is you had 10,000 plus people come together in unity in support of the fight for justice for Freddie Gray”. Buzzfeed highlighted this side of the protests that the big media chose not to report on, painting a completely different picture of the situation.
The different angles in which one issue was reported brings into the perspective of prejudice in journalism today.