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REPORT: New York City television stations give lopsided coverage to Black crime

A Media Matters analysis found that four major broadcast television stations in New York City gave disproportionate coverage to crime stories involving African American suspects over the past three months. The stations’ late-night news broadcasts on weeknights covered murder, theft and assault cases in which African Americans were suspects at a notably higher rate than the rate at which African Americans have historically been arrested for those crimes in New York City.

Coverage of cases involving Black suspects outpaced historical arrest rates from New York Police Department statistics.  In stories where race could be identified, the percentage of African American suspects in murders, thefts, and assaults covered by WCBS, WNBC, WABC, and WNYW was well above the percentage of African American suspects who have been arrested for those crimes in New York City. NYCTopChartAccording to averages of arrest statistics from the NYPD for the past four years, African American suspects were arrested in 54 percent of murders, 55 percent of thefts, and 49 percent of assaults. Meanwhile, over the past three months, the suspects in the four stations’ coverage of murders were 68 percent African American, the suspects in their coverage of thefts were 80 percent African American, and the suspects in their coverage of assaults were 72 percent African American.

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