Researchers Discover That Media Buries The Race Of Black Officers

Amber Randall | Civil Rights Reporter

A team of researchers discovered that most news stories tend to mention the race of a white officer when covering police shootings, but not mention the race of a black officer.

The Crime Prevention Research Center released a report Thursday purportedly showing that white officers are not that much more likely than black officers to shoot black suspects.

As the research team gathered information on the races of officers and suspects, they realized that most news stories did not mention the race of a black officer if he was involved in a police shooting.

“News stories tend to not mention the race of the officer when the officer is black, because most of the black officers we found we found by looking at department photos, not news stories,” researcher John Lott Lott told Fox News. “That was not true of white officers.

Media outlets apparently have a tendency to bury the race of black officers, while elevating a white officer’s race when reporting on police shootings of black men.

When major media outlets reported on the shootings of two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, they had a tendency to elevate the white race of the officer who shot Sterling, and downplay the race of Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s race, the man who shot Castile. (RELATED: Media Outlets Bury Ethnicity Of Cop In Minnesota Shooting)

The Washington Post ran a headline mentioning the white officer’s race in the Sterling shooting, but didn’t mention Yanez’s race until halfway through the article.

The New York Times also led a trend of burying the race of a black officer and emphasizing the race of the white officer. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: WaPo, NYT Lead Trend Of Emphasizing Race Of White Officer, Burying Race Of Black Officer)

A random sampling of 11 New York Times articles on the Tulsa shooting reveals that 63 percent of them mention the officer’s white race and the victim’s black race in the same sentence. Meanwhile, out of 10 random articles on the Charlotte shooting, only 40 percent mentioned that the officer involved was black.

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