On Saturday, December 13, 2014 thousands marched on Washington, DC, and hundreds of thousands around the country marched in their cities against the ongoing injustices plaguing the American justice system and the mainstream uncovering and epidemic of police brutality, mostly against minorities, namely African Americans. The marches, termed a “Day of Resistance,” occurred throughout the country in virtually every major metropolitan area: Los Angeles to Baltimore to New York to San Francisco, where it was said thousands of protesters came out.
The marches in D.C., featured speakers such as Rev. Al Sharpton; Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner; Lesley McSpadden, the mother of the late Michael Brown; and Sybrina Fulton, the mother of the late Trayvon Martin.
“Don’t just come to the rally and go home. The numbers look nice. You guys look good out there, but it cannot stop here. This has to be the start,” Fulton said.
Chants echoed throughout the streets on downtown D.C., consisted of, “hands up, don’t shoot;” “no justice, no peace;” and “can’t stop, won’t stop until killer cops are in cell blocks.”
Lesley McSpadden, the mother of the late Michael Brown, spoke with a thankful tone.
“What a sea of people,” she said. “If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do. Thank you for having my back,” McSpadden, said.
Apparently, though, the major news corporations did not see it.
They did not see this.
Or this, apparently.
Despite the fact that Capitol Hill is in the background of the first image, and it would have been impossible for the major news corporations to have not actually seen it, many of them did not cover the protests, or did not have sustained coverage.
Around 1 a.m. on December 14, Al-Jazeera America was the only major news organizations I pooled to have the “Day of Resistance” marches as their top story.
Edit: @lilyconwell85 on Twitter also pointed out that “Another Western Dawn News” also reported on the demonstrations.
And, it was not like it was a busy news night. The only other semi-newsworthy story was that Congress was attempting to avert a government shutdown, but what else is new? Which is more newsworthy based on the context of America in 2014? Which will affect more people?
NBC, CBS, and MSNBC (all screenshots of their websites below) did cover the story but let other stories overtake the stories of the marches by midnight on December 14 moving into 1:30 a.m. and onward.
However, CNN and Fox News had no evidence of a story on the demonstrations on their homepage a little after midnight on December 14, less than six hours after most marches on the East Coast had disbanded.
Slightly switching directions, Google News charts popular news items based on the number of “hits” or “views” a specific webpage gets. You can search a keyword, and in return, the webpages that includes that keyword will come up, with the websites with the most hits at the top.
Look closely at the websites that came up when I typed in “Day of Resistance,” which was the official name of the demonstrations on December 13, 2014.
The webpages for ABC, CBS, NBC, and MSNBC are nowhere in sight, despite the fact that they reported on the events. The webpages that had the most hits under the keyword “Day of Resistance” were mostly from smaller, local news station’s websites reporting on the events (see image below).
Why is that? Because all those major news corporations were not calling the marches the “Day of Resistance” marches. They were calling them “protests,” reducing the movement to the same word the media used to describe the anger-filled events that occurred in Ferguson only a week or two earlier. These events were far, far from it. Absolutely zero protesters out of thousands were violent in these demonstrations. If they had been, major news organizations would have reported on that.
Below are the webpages with the most hits that came up when I typed in the keyword “protests” into Google News.
And, presto! There are all the major news corporations who had reported on the events, including many major newspapers, as well.
Every single one of those news organizations did not give the marchers the respect of referring to their event under the name that they called it – the “Day of Resistance” marches. In a journalism profession that supposedly prides itself on the truth, these major news corporations missed out on the “WHAT” or the 5 “W” questions (who, what, when, where, why) when gathering the basics for any newsworthy event. That is Journalism 101.
So, although it may seem that the media did the marchers justice by reporting on their events, the only major news corporation that did that was Al-Jazeera America, and even they are not really mainstream with the American public.
The other news organizations reported on the marches, but it was sloppy reporting at best. Not the type of reporting any of the victims deserved, not the type of reporting any of their families deserved, not the type of reporting any of the marchers deserved, and not the type of reporting that any American citizen deserves either. These organizations reported on the events as “protests,” not as a “peaceful demonstration,” or as the “‘Day of Resistance’ marches.”
The American public must demand better, must at least demand that news organizations get as close to the truth as possible, operate under journalistic integrity. There is no such integrity here.