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Major Networks Fail in Coverage of Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes

Reporter at crime scene

A new Media Matters study finds seven major outlets devoted just 40 minutes to the topic last year.

Major broadcast and television networks are failing when it comes to coverage of anti- LGBT violence, says a new Media Matters study.

The seven outlets studied discussed anti-LGBT hate crimes just 22 times and for a total of 40 minutes in 2017, even though it was the deadliest year for LGBT Americans since at least 2012, according to the study, released today.

The media watchdog group analyzed cable TV news coverage between 6 a.m. and midnight on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC, and broadcast TV news coverage on the morning shows, flagship evening news programs, and Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox.

More than half of the coverage, both in number of discussions and time spent, focused on two stories: the killing by police of Georgia Tech Pride president Scout Schultz and Attorney General Jeff Sessions's decision to send a Justice Department lawyer to aid Iowa officials prosecuting the man charged with murdering gender-fluid teen Kedarie Johnson in 2016. The trial ended late last year, with Jorge Sanders-Galvez being convicted of first-degree murder.

Fox News Channel spent the most time covering anti-LGBT violence, more than 10 minutes, but seven and a half minutes of that came from one segment in which disgraced former Los Angeles police officer Mark Fuhrman defended the officer who shot Schultz. Furhman was a witness for the prosecution during the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995, and he ended up being charged with perjury for lying under oath about having used racial slurs, a charge to which he pleaded no contest.

This lack of coverage came despite a rise in anti-LGBT violence, the study notes, adding that "speakers contextualized their subjects as part of an overall trend of increasing violence against the LGBTQ community in only seven of the 22 discussions."

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that anti-LGBTQ murders were up by 86 percent in 2017 over the previous year, and the latest FBI data found an increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in 2016. NCAVP reported that the number of victims grew from 28 in 2016 to 52 in 2017, and more than half of the victims were transgender, mostly women of color. Overall, people of color made up 71 percent of anti-LGBT hate homicide victims in 2017, and 67 percent of the total victims were under the age of 35. Some print and online media outlets, including The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, did run stories contextualizing the violence, Media Matters reports.

Read the full study at

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