NBC, ABC gloss over details in coverage of armed St. Louis couple confronting protesters: reportjuin 30, 2020
A Missouri couple went viral Sunday for brandishing guns in the front yard of their home as protesters passed — but anyone who relies on NBC or ABC’s evening newscasts for information wouldn’t know all the details, according to the Media Research Center.
The couple told police the group broke a gate to get onto the private street in St. Louis, and the pair say they only retrieved their firearms when they spotted “multiple” people who were already armed, department records show.
Al Watkins, an attorney for Mark McCloskey, 63, and his 61-year-old wife, Patricia, said the protest was largely peaceful and the pair did not bring their guns outside of the home until two men in particular, both of whom were white, started menacing them.
“When reporting on the incident Monday night, ABC and NBC intentionally hid those facts as they insisted the mob was just made up of “peaceful protesters.'”
“When reporting on the incident Monday night, ABC and NBC intentionally hid those facts as they insisted the mob was just made up of “peaceful protesters,” and demonized the couple for protecting their home and lives with guns,” Media Research Center news analyst Nicholas Fondacaro wrote of Monday’s newscasts.
Fondacaro noted that “NBC Nightly News” began the segment with anchor Lester Holt reporting that Trump re-tweeted “an inflammatory video made during a protest” in St. Louis.
“Moments later, NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker claimed, without evidence, that Trump was trying to stoke ‘racial’ ‘tensions’ with the video,” Fondacaro wrote, adding that Welker called the protestors “peaceful.”
ABC’s “World News Tonight” didn’t handle the story much differently, according to Fondacaro.
“Chief White House correspondent Jon Karl also insisted Trump’s retweet was a way to ‘rally his base with racially incendiary rhetoric,’” Fondacaro observed. “And absent of any context, Karl reported that the video was of ‘a white couple in St. Louis pointing guns at black protesters walking by on a street in front of their home.’”
The MRC analyst determined that “at no point did [Karl] inform viewers that the racially mixed mob had trespassed on private property by destroying a gate.”
NBC News and ABC News did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
While “NBC Nightly News” and ABC’s “World News Tonight” reportedly missed some details, other news organizations covered the entire story.
“Proving themselves to be better journalists than either Karl or Welker, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a local newspaper, reported that St. Louis police were investigating the mob for “trespassing and fourth-degree assault by intimidation,” Fondacaro wrote.
After the couple brought the guns outside, Watkins said, others began threatening them, unaware of the reason behind the couple’s interpreted need to arm themselves.
“My clients, though, had to deal with comments that were from two individuals that were perpetrating these acts of violence and, not charging, but coming toward them and doing so in a fashion that was threatening, menacing, and in a fashion inconsistent with the Black Lives Matter message.”
The pair called the St. Louis Police Department shortly before 7:30 p.m. Sunday. They told arriving officers that they had heard a “commotion” and, upon investigating further, “observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs,” according to an incident summary provided to Fox News by the department.
However, a video showed the protesters walking through the gate and it was unclear when it was damaged.
The police report does not identify the McCloskeys as the victims.
“Once through the gate, the victims advised the group that they were on a private street and trespassing and told them to leave,” the police summary further states. “The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims. When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police.”
Based on the couple’s account, police labeled the incident a case of trespassing and assault by intimidation, according to the incident summary. No other police reports were filed that night, a department spokesperson told Fox News.
Mark McCloskey told KMOV-TV that a mob rushed toward the home as the family was having dinner and “put us in fear of our lives.”
“This is all private property. There are no public sidewalks or public streets,” McCloskey said. “We were told that we would be killed, our home burned and our dog killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob.”