Editor For St. Louis Newspaper Blasts Fox News For Terrible Coverage Of Ferguson Protests

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In a conversation with Media Matters for America this week, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor-In-Chief Gilbert Bailon blasted Fox News and other media outlets for their coverage of the Ferguson protests in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death. The editor stated that Fox and some other papers focused too much on the few instances of looting while also trying to portray the entire St. Louis-area as being engulfed in chaos during the most intense period of protesting. Bailon also took some news outlets to task for running with stories that were poorly sourced or complete fabrications.

Joe Strupp of Media Matters published a story on Tuesday centered on an interview Bailon gave to Media Matters while attending the American Society of News Editors conference this week in Chicago. Bailon praised CNN and MSNBC for their coverage of the events in Ferguson, specifically due to their focus to tell the whole story and delve deep into the root causes of the anger and frustration going on in the community. Meanwhile, he said Fox News seemed only to care about the chaos and looting and nothing else. They weren’t concerned about context or actually presenting the news. He also pointed out that once the protests grew calmer, and the police presence drew down, Fox was the first one out of there, whereas CNN and MSNBC kept reporters around much longer to do more investigating or report on events that weren’t as ‘juicy.’

Bailon said the following to MMFA regarding Fox:

“I do think sometimes … it looks like the whole community was in flames, and it was really a few block area. Significant, but it wasn’t like St. Louis was on fire or out of control and there was mass chaos everywhere … it wasn’t like an all-consuming entire metropolitan area was hit by that, yet it commanded a huge presence of what was there.

“I think Fox took a different angle, their view was more of the view of the chaos, was really focusing on the looting and less of what was going on in the community pre-dating the looting. The looting was very dramatic…but there was the deeper story there. Some stayed on in town longer, I think there was a different viewpoint on them and less on the undercurrent. [Fox] didn’t look at it as deeply and as long as others, CNN did make an investment, MSNBC was there a lot.”


This is readily apparent to anyone who watched the national news networks since Michael Brown’s death on August 9th. Fox was only interested in the story for the sole purpose of race-baiting. They wanted to present young black males out of control. They wanted to focus on violence and rage and weren’t interested whatsoever in presenting a the entire picture. Fox was only interested in showing a largely black community in the grips of chaos and making it appear to all the world that an entire large metro area was on the brink of destruction at the hands of violent black thugs.

On the other hand, while neither CNN’s or MSNBC’s coverage was perfect by any means, and both focused heavily at times on the sensationalism and drama surrounding the encounters between police and protesters, both networks actually did investigative journalism and kept reporters on the scene after the tear gas and flash grenades were put away. CNN’s Don Lemon and Jake Tapper and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Trymaine Lee all presented compelling stories and breaking news regarding the happenings in Ferguson. They also made sure to do their best present only the facts, even during periods of tumultuous activity.

Regarding getting facts right, Bailon also ripped both the Washington Post and New York Post for running with unverified stories all for the sake of gaining attention or trying to be the first to break a major story. He was referring to the Washington Post claiming that a police source had confirmed that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system and the New York Post running a story that Officer Darren Wilson had suffered an orbital fracture in his encounter with Brown.

“There’s been a couple of stories that I think the sourcing wasn’t quite as good on,. I don’t know whether these are wrong but we haven’t been able to verify it. There’s been talk that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system. Well that hasn’t been officially reviewed, we don’t know that yet. We haven’t reported that. The New York Post picked up some information about [police officer Darren Wilson] having an orbital fracture of his face … inflicted by Michael Brown. We have not found that to be true. In fact, it has been debunked by many.”

The orbital fracture story was particularly heinous. Obviously, both the New York Post and Fox News picked this story up from the right-wing blogosphere and then ran with it as being true. Eventually, Lemon had to pop their balloon by reporting that Wilson did not, in fact, suffer a fracture to the face of any kind. He was checked out at the hospital after the shooting, but x-rays did not show any fracture. Prior to Lemon’s report, right-wing media and blogs were screeching that Wilson suffered a ‘blowout orbital fracture’ at the hands of Brown.

17 Replies to “Editor For St. Louis Newspaper Blasts Fox News For Terrible Coverage Of Ferguson Protests”

  1. FOX Noise always gets it wrong, because they are designed to appeal to the worst fears and basest prejudices of their followers. People who are quick to assume the worst about black folks can count on FOX to validate their twisted logic. To that end, FOX was not interested in showing how the Michael Brown incident was the last straw for people who had been chafing for years under the police department’s heavy-handed tactics. True to form, that so-called news outlet was only interested in perpetuating the image that black folks are volatile and reactive, rather than acknowledging that the people in Ferguson had very sound reasons for resenting their treatment at the hands of law enforcement there.

  2. Viewing FERGUSON from FOX’s lenses and running commentaries from their “journalists” at the scene suggests that FOX was only interested in degrading the story. Finding every bad side to tell, fabricating, and not getting in on the story from the people of that city. There was another side to that town that FOX cared not to show (the good and decent side) they focused on the troublemakers and interviewed the eloquently challenged to tell their story in cringe worthy ways. This is the side FOX wanted to show. Nothing else. But when you switched channels you got stories that were so opposite to what FOX brought you. And there is the proof of the way FOX shoots a story and reports it. Shameful.

  3. To be fair to The Post (and they’ve made their own fair share of questionable decisions re: Ferguson coverage) Byers was on maternity leave when she tweeted that bunk out and wasn’t acting on behalf of the paper. Bailon eventually had to release a statement to that effect and Byers later sent a tweet stating that the original tweet didn’t meet standards of publication.

  4. Yeah, that’s true but she is still drawing a paycheck from that paper. If there was any justice she should have been fired on the spot for using the paper for credibility. Her tweets set off a chain of events that other media picked up as gospel and that is why you and others have to fight back against the lies. But that horse has left the barn and its a losing battle.

    No matter how much you fail you will not be held accountable for your actions and that’s why they lie

  5. Just Fox “news” agenda, keep feeding the propaganda to the lowinfos and pray they dont fact check you. Right, Bill,Sean, Meg,too many liars to list but you know em.

  6. Fox news is nothing but a bunch of amateurs, who has no idea what real news is. In fact they could care less about reporting factual news. As for Bill “Egomaniac” O’Reilly, this guy is a joke, tries to give the impression that he knows it all, when in reality, he couldn’t spell “news”, if you spotted him the “n and w”.

  7. Don’t forget Dana Loesch putting on the air the Gospel according to “Josie” that the RWNJ’s also ran with before they were called out for spouting third hand hearsay as fact.

  8. A new survey out by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows a pretty stark divide in the way people in the community view last month’s deadly shooting of Michael Brown by police office Darren Wilson.

    The survey, released Monday morning by the Kansas City-based Remington Research Group, found that 65 percent of African-American county residents believe that Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson acted unjustly when he ended Brown’s life Aug. 9 on a Ferguson street.

    Conversely, 62 percent of the white residents surveyed by Remington believe the shooting death of Brown was justified.

  9. Fox news is not news, Its right wing hate and evil. Someone needs to shut them down.
    I can’t believe how they can lie and get away with it.

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