Flaming Kenosha Riots Were ‘Mostly Peaceful’ and Jacob Blake Is Dead, According to CNN Chyrons

Kenosha County Supervisor Andy Berg speaks during a news conference regarding the protests and shootings that came after Jacob Blake was shot by police, in Kenosha, Wis., August 26, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

CNN’s coverage of the Jacob Blake shooting and subsequent unrest in Kenosha, Wis., has been highly misleading, a review of its chyrons over the last week shows.

After Blake was shot in the back seven times by police officers on Sunday, sparking protests and rioting in Kenosha, CNN worked overtime to downplay the unrest spilling onto the streets. Protests devolved into rioting Sunday night as buildings and vehicles were damaged, projectiles were thrown at officers, and fires were set in local businesses.

Authorities then instituted a curfew and Wisconsin governor Tony Evers called in members of the National Guard in an effort to maintain law and order.

CNN covered the latest developments on Monday night’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, with Omar Jimenez reporting on the ground from Kenosha. But footage of the coverage shows that, without explanation, CNN conspicuously removed the word “violent” from its chyron seconds into the report.

The chyron remains the same besides the word “violent,” suggesting a producer thought better of the description after seeing it on screen.

Early Tuesday morning, chaos erupted as business were burned and looted. The Kenosha fire department said it responded to 37 fires the night of August 24, as well as “emergency medical services for numerous accidents, assaults and injuries with traumas of varying degrees, including a shooting.”

Jimenez was again on the ground for CNN, with footage showing him reporting in front of billowing flames. “These images came and come in stark contrast to what we saw over the course of the daytime hours in Kenosha and into the early evening,” Jimenez said.

The CNN chyron? “Fiery But Mostly Peaceful Protests After Police Shooting.”

Tuesday evening, the “mostly peaceful” protests escalated as a mob confronted a group of armed citizens defending businesses.

One of the armed men, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, shot three people, two fatally. Video of the incident shows Rittenhouse outside of a car dealership being pursued by a group of men, one of whom was armed with a handgun and appeared to fire into the air, prompting Rittenhouse to begin shooting, according to a timeline of the event put together by the New York Times. After shooting one man in the head near the dealership, Rittenhouse flees down a street before falling to the ground, where he shoots two more of his pursuers, one of whom had just hit him over the head with a skateboard.

And Wednesday evening, as the Wisconsin Justice Department provided an update on the investigation into the Blake shooting, CNN tuned into the press conference. Its chyron — “Wisconsin Attorney General Identifies Officers Involved in Deadly Police Shooting of Jacob Blake” — was incorrect. Blake, even after being shot seven times, was not killed by police. He remains in the hospital in stable but serious condition, and his family said Tuesday he has been paralyzed.

The chyron was apparently up for several minutes with no correction.

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