The New York Times and The Washington Post bury police officers’ races when they are black, but rush to highlight race when the officer happens to be white, an analysis of two similar cases by The Daily Caller News Foundation shows.
White Tulsa officer Betty Shelby, a five-year veteran on the force, shot Terence Crutcher, who is black, when police came across his car stopped in the middle of the road. Dash cam video appears to show that police tased and shot Crutcher as he walked back to his car with his hands up. (VIDEO: Unarmed Man Puts Hands Up Before Cops Tase, Shoot Him)
Black Charlotte officer Brentley Vinson shot Keith Lamont Scott, who was also black and who allegedly carried a gun. According to police, Scott ignored multiple warnings to drop his handgun. (RELATED: Police Chief: Black Man Told Multiple Times To Drop Gun Before Getting Shot)
In a random sampling of 11 articles from The New York Times on the Tulsa shooting, TheDCNF found that 63 percent of articles mentioned Shelby’s white race and Crutcher’s black race in the same sentence. Thirty-six percent of the articles did not mention the officer’s race, but emphasized that the victim was a black man shot by a police officer.
TheDCNF examined 10 random articles from The New York Times’ coverage of the Charlotte shooting. Only 40 percent of the articles mentioned that the officer involved was black. The rest of the articles sampled referred to the shooting as a black man being shot by an officer.
An analysis of statistics for randomly selected articles from The Washington Post reveals less evidence of bias than the Times, but could point to a slant. Out of 17 articles on the Tulsa white-on-black shooting, 17 percent mention both the race of the officer and man involved. Eighty-two percent of articles just mentioned the race of the victim.
On the Charlotte shooting, TheDCNF examined 14 random articles from The Washington Post. Only 14 percent of the articles sampled mentioned that the officer involved was black. The other 86 percent of articles ignored the officer’s race, but mentioned that the victim was black.
When reporting the Tulsa shooting, The Washington Post emphasized that Shelby, a white police officer, killed Crutcher, an unarmed black man. Alternatively, when reporting the Charlotte shooting, the Post buried that Vinson, a black officer, shot Keith Lamont Scott, a black man.
In one article on the Tulsa shooting, The Washington Post featured Shelby’s race and Crutcher’s race in the headline, as well as in the very beginning of a story. When reporting on the Charlotte shooting, The Washington Post did not mention Vinson’s race until halfway through the story.
The Washington Post ran another article on the Tulsa shooting that emphasized that Shelby, a white officer, had shot Crutcher, a black man, by placing their races at the very beginning of the article. When writing about the Charlotte riots, however, the publication mentioned Scott’s race first, and then mentioned Vinson’s race two paragraphs later.
In one example of its coverage of the Tulsa shooting, The New York Times ran an article that mentioned Shelby’s and Crutcher’s races at the very beginning of the story. The New York Times, when covering the Charlotte riots, mentioned in the beginning that Scott was a black man, but did not discuss Vinson’s race until the end of the story.
In another article on the Charlotte shooting, The New York Times mentioned Scott’s race in the beginning and the headline; Vinson’s race is mentioned halfway through the story.
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