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NYC media coverage of black suspects is way out of proportion with black arrest rates

According to a report by the progressive research center Media Matters, New York City television stations give disproportionate coverage to crimes involving black suspects.

The Media Matters study found that between August 18 and December 13, 2014, the stations (WCBS, WNBC, WABC, and WNYW) used their late-night broadcasts to report on murder, theft, and assault cases in which African Americans were suspects at rates that far exceeded African-American arrest rates for those crimes.

(Media Matters)

According New York City Police Department statistics, African Americans were suspects in 54 percent of murders, 55 percent of thefts, and 49 percent of assaults. But the suspects in the stations' coverage were black in 74 percent of murder stories, 84 percent of theft stories, and 73 percent of assault stories.

Negative images in the media affect how black people are treated in real life

"This type of overrepresentation sends a message that it's okay and it's justified to fear black folks. It sends a message about who black people are that is harmful and hurtful," said Rashad Robinson, executive director of the civil rights group ColorOfChange, in the video above.

ColorOfChange released a report titled "Not To Be Trusted: Dangerous Levels of Inaccuracy in TV Crime Reporting in NYC," in response to the Media Matters study. "What people see and hear in the media has a tremendous effect on their lives," Robinson said. "It has a tremendous effect on decisions they make, from decisions that are made in the schoolhouse to the courthouse."