Choose your narrative: How the nation’s leading tabloids are addressing the mass protests and unrest
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It’s difficult and painful to try to process the current mass protests and unrest across America in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The media narrative is shifting in real time in response to the non-stop barrage of new developments, and as video clips of protests—and the police response to those protests—flood social media.
In times of strife, though, it’s always instructive to examine the nation’s two leading tabloid newspapers for a frozen-in-time snapshot of what different media consumers are being told. This morning’s New York Daily News and New York Post take entirely different approaches with their front covers—though each attempts to define the moment with a single, powerful image.
The left-leaning Daily News, owned by Tribune Publishing, shows New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Vincent Tavalaro and two other officers taking a knee on a street in the Queens borough of New York City on Sunday. “KEEP THE PEACE: On third day of rage, some Finest take knee in show of solidarity,” the headline and subhead read.
The right-leaning New York Post, owned by the Murdoch-controlled News Corp—which makes it a corporate cousin of the Fox News Channel—goes with a “Mad Max”-style photo of a man in a defiant, triumphant pose atop a NYPD police cruiser with shattered windows. The headline/subhead: “THEY WANT RUIN: De Blasio blasts agitators using protests to destroy.” Bill de Blasio is the mayor of New York City.
Notably, both papers, which traditionally have been generally very supportive of the NYPD, avoid using their covers to address police involvement in the weekend’s violence—a narrative widely foregrounded by other media. See, for instance, “Caught on camera, police explode in rage and violence across the US” (subhead “America’s occupation by militarized police is in full view”), from The Verge.
On its website this morning, though, the New York Post is joining the Daily News and other outlets in covering the nature of the police response to protests, with stories published this morning including “De Blasio says NYPD cop should lose badge for pulling gun on protesters” and “Dramatic footage captures cops charging at protesters on Canal Street,” as well as “Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, arrested at Manhattan protest.”