News coverage of black crime suspects is biased. A report from Media Matters 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 been arrested for those crimes.
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. According to averages of arrest statistics from the New York City Police Department for the past four years, African American suspects were arrested in 54% of murders, 55% of thefts, and 49% of assaults.
Meanwhile, over the past three months, the suspects in the four stations’ coverage of murders were 68% African American, the suspects in their coverage of thefts were 80% African American, and the suspects in their coverage of assaults were 72% African American.