Fox News Graphic of Stock Performance After Killings of Black Men, Rodney King Verdict Sparks Outrage
A Fox News graphic charting stock market performance following the killings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Michael Brown, and George Floyd, as well as the Rodney King police brutality verdict, has sparked widespread outrage.
On Friday night’s edition of Special Report With Bret Baier, anchor Bret Baier tossed to Fox Business correspondent Susan Li for a report on the stock market during which the offending graphic was displayed. It featured a chart labeled “S&P 500 PERCENTAGE CHANGE ONE WEEK AFTER EVENT,” and noted increases in that index following events labeled “MLK ASSASSINATION”, “RODNEY KING CASE ACQUITTAL”, “MICHAEL BROWN DEATH,” and “GEORGE FLOYD DEATH.”
Ms. Li commented on the graphic by saying “Stock markets hitting new height despite the protests this week. Historically, there has been a disconnect between what investors focus on and what happens across the rest of the country.”
The graphic was shared widely on Twitter, and sparked intense reactions. Yashar Ali shared the graphic with his large and influential Twitter following, writing “This is a horrific graphic to have put up on air.”
This is a horrific graphic to have put up on air.
My god. pic.twitter.com/HoDof1AN9l
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) June 5, 2020
CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski helpfully tweeted a short video from the segment featuring the chart.
Here’s the graphic as it aired.https://t.co/h0nP5IoTUy pic.twitter.com/201rNVXeZL
— andrew kaczynski? (@KFILE) June 5, 2020
Many other verified Twitter users were horrified, and the criticism was intense. CNN’s Bakari Sellers commented “It’s as if they’re incentivizing…”
It’s as if they’re incentivizing… https://t.co/8rvbe1RsCK
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) June 6, 2020
Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush wrote “This graphic makes it clear that @FoxNews does not care about black lives.”
This graphic makes it clear that @FoxNews does not care about black lives. https://t.co/gYqC2B0n4F
— Bobby L. Rush (@RepBobbyRush) June 6, 2020
Market strategist and frequent CNBC guest Sven Henrich expressed a similar sentiment to Sellers’ from within the stock trading community, writing “Dead black men are apparently bullish for the stock market. Brought to you by Fox’s community outreach department.”
Dead black men are apparently bullish for the stock market.
Brought to you by Fox’s community outreach department. ?♂️? https://t.co/YKZdogIqTz
— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) June 6, 2020
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, like many, was just stunned:
What? Is this real? https://t.co/ft2Rw7dAiK
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) June 5, 2020
The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty captioned the graphic “Fox News bares what is has in place of a soul.”
Fox News bares what is has in place of a soul: https://t.co/uDFkpiOHsc
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) June 6, 2020
Former RNC chair and current MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele wrote “This is how they mourn the loss of black men at #FoxNews – by how much the stock market goes up. What. The. Hell!”
This is how they mourn the loss of black men at #FoxNews – by how much the stock market goes up.
What. The. Hell! https://t.co/Vll1NCUrIJ
— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) June 6, 2020
MSNBC host Joy Reid was brief, simply writing “Un….real…..”
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) June 6, 2020
Frequent MSNBC guest and author Tiffany Cross spoke out and urged people to “#AbolishFox.”
I appeared on Fox a couple years ago & quickly vowed to never appear there again. People have been asking how can any Black person work or appear on this network given this ??But truthfully, this question shouldn’t be specific to us. We should ask this of EVERYONE. #AbolishFox https://t.co/NyRYeayoea
— @tiffanydcross (@TiffanyDCross) June 6, 2020
MSNBC host David Gura called out Susan Li by name.
Someone pitched this.
Someone dug up these data.
Someone made this graphic.
Someone approved this.
@SusanLiTV fronted it. pic.twitter.com/ltmbEMPDf5
— David Gura (@davidgura) June 6, 2020
CNN host and comic W. Kamau Bell wrote a short scene based on the segment.
“Daddy, what white supremacy? And what do you mean when you say it is structural?”
“Good questions, daughter. Watch this.” https://t.co/zlPLGew4A4
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) June 6, 2020
Maya Harris, sister of California Senator Kamala Harris, wrote “When they say the quiet part out loud…”
When they say the quiet part out loud… https://t.co/OUWvjxF0wT
— Maya Harris (@mayaharris_) June 6, 2020
Even former George W. Bush spokesman Tony Fratto — who worked under now-Fox News host Dana Perino — couldn’t believe his eyes.
“This is a disgraceful graphic and a nauseating matter of inquiry…” Fratto wrote.
This is a disgraceful graphic and a nauseating matter of inquiry… https://t.co/nRaG4tU7Aa
— Tony Fratto (@TonyFratto) June 6, 2020
The official Twitter account of the Pennsylvania Treasury weighed in, writing “Who even thinks this way?”
Who even thinks this way? https://t.co/N4AaJbtIAj
— Pennsylvania Treasury (@PATreasury) June 6, 2020
The other reactions were numerous and scathing.
I am a professional word having person and I have no words to describe the people at Fox who thought this was okay. https://t.co/9D7dBvr299
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) June 6, 2020
People often like to criticize specific well-known hosts at Fox. But the reality is that there’s a whole team of people over there behind the scenes who help present news in the way that has made Fox so problematic for many Americans. https://t.co/pzMQ2u5WB2
— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) June 6, 2020
@foxnews You want to defend this one or have you taken the weekend off for a klan offsite? https://t.co/7hkSOEmeyr
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) June 6, 2020
I cannot even fathom the context in which this graphic was used. Ghastly. https://t.co/c0aiNuWeDD
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) June 5, 2020
Baier tweeted the segment to his own followers Friday night as well, but without highlighting the graphic.
When contacted for comment, Fox News pointed to examples of other outlets highlighting the same data, which Mr. Ali also pointed out in a subsequent tweet that noted “The data for this infographic was pulled from a @FortuneMagazine article and an @WSJ article.”
3. The data for this infographic was pulled from a @FortuneMagazine article and an @WSJ article.
WSJ: https://t.co/Y9nKgsYi4j pic.twitter.com/SmxTmc5JGO
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) June 6, 2020
They also pointed to a CNBC article, a Mediaite article featuring a clip of Jim Cramer, a Bloomberg article, and a few others that explored the theme.
The network also pointed to a later segment in which the “pathos” of civil unrest over George Floyd’s death was discussed.
Watch the clip above via Fox News.
Fox News has issued a statement of apology for the insensitivity of the graphic.
“The infographic used on FOX News Channel’s Special Report to illustrate market reactions to historic periods of civil unrest should have never aired on television without full context. We apologize for the insensitivity of the image and take this issue seriously.”
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