Study Rates Coverage of Covington Kids: 'Ugly' Reporting by MSNBC, NYT

By Craig Bannister | January 23, 2019 | 10:50am EST
MSNBC's Chris Hayes (Screenshot)

A NewsBusters study rating major network and newspaper coverage of the misleading video of the Covington Catholic High School kids shows how reporting ranged from “Good” at CBS to downright “Ugly” at others, like MSNBC.

Before all the facts were known, the media ran with a story accusing pro-life activists from Covington Catholic High School of racism during an altercation with left-wing demonstrators at the Lincoln Memorial after the March for Life on Friday. That false narrative began to fall apart almost immediately, once additional video surfaced proving how the original, social media version of the story, was false.

NewsBusters’ grades of the coverage are below, followed by the rating criteria employed by the analysis.

Covington Coverage Grades:

  • CBS: Good
  • ABC: Bad
  • NBC: Ugly
  • MSNBC: Ugly
  • CNN: Bad
  • USA Today: Ugly
  • New York Times: Ugly
  • The Washington Post: Ugly

Grading Criteria:

  • “Good”: News organizations either held off reporting the story until the facts were known, or offered full retractions/apologies after the initial version fell apart.
  • “Bad”: News organizations tried to salvage their initial coverage by presenting the true version as a mere complication to an-already established narrative.
  • “Ugly”: News organizations used the false story to smear underage kids as evil, racist, Nazis – when the truth was the exact opposite.

See full NewsBusters report.

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