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REPORT Evening TV news gave less than 20 minutes to anti-trans violence in 2019

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Amid what the American Medical Association called a "disturbing pattern of violence toward black transgender women," a new report from Media Matters for America, a nonprofit media watchdog, of corporate evening broadcast and cable TV news in 2019 found that networks discussed anti-trans violence only eight times, for a total of 18 minutes and 23 seconds, outside of a one-night political event.


CNN's historic LGBTQ town hall, held on Oct. 10, accounted for an additional 15 minutes, bringing the total coverage of anti-trans violence in 2019 to 33 minutes and 25 seconds across 13 discussions. The analysis looked at corporate broadcast nightly news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as cable evening news coverage on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, occurring between 5 p.m. and midnight in 2019. Top trends from a year of anti-trans violence coverage on evening broadcasts and cable news, included:

- Outside of CNN's LGBTQ town hall, deadly violence against trans people was discussed only eight times for a total of 18 minutes and 23 seconds of coverage during corporate broadcast and cable evening news programs.

- Democratic presidential candidates and audience members at CNN's Oct. 10 town hall discussed anti-trans violence an additional five times for a total of 15 minutes and 2 seconds of coverage.

- Including the town hall and all other discussion, anti-trans violence was discussed for 33 minutes and 25 seconds during evening news coverage in 2019.

- NBC's nightly news show and MSNBC's evening news programs failed to cover anti-trans violence a single time in 2019.

- Including its town hall, CNN devoted the most evening coverage to anti-trans violence out of the networks examined, with a total of 27 minutes and 30 seconds. This was four times more coverage than all other networks combined.

- Evening cable and broadcast TV news did not include a single openly trans person as a guest to discuss anti-trans violence.

- Only four of the 13 total segments mentioned the name of a slain trans person.

- In the network's sole segment discussing anti-trans violence, Fox News' Tucker Carlson politicized the issue in order to suggest that Democrats were becoming too extreme on trans issues. He did not actually address alarming rates of violence.

- Though we did not include PBS in the full data set, we analyzed its coverage as a comparison point; episodes of PBS NewsHour's weekday and weekend edition reported on anti-trans violence for 9 minutes and 17 seconds, more than all of the corporate broadcast networks' coverage combined.

"Insufficient reporting on anti-trans violence is one major reflection of the larger failure in TV news to report on the issues facing the already marginalized trans community. And in the absence of meaningful reporting on trans issues, right-wing media can spread vile misinformation and dominate coverage of the topic," said study author Alex Paterson, LGBTQ team researcher at Media Matters. "Evening TV news programs reach tens of millions of viewers a night and have a responsibility to inform their viewers with accurate coverage about the rise in anti-trans violence."

—From a press release

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