Liberal Broadcast, Cable Networks Spend Nearly 10 Minutes Hyping Fake Hate Crime [UPDATED]

September 30th, 2019 11:37 PM

(See update at bottom)

As previously documented by NewsBusters, a number of shows on the major networks late last week ran with reports of a racist bullying incident at Springfield, Virginia's Immanuel Christian School that, by late Monday morning, was revealed to be a hoax. The family of 12-year-old Amari Allen admitted that their daughter made up her story, accusing three white classmates of forcibly cutting her long hair.

When the story first came out, the flagship morning and evening shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC combined with CNN and MSNBC for nine minutes and 53 seconds engaging in a frenzy, pushing Allen's fable as a slamdunk fact as yet another incident of how supposedly racist America is and continues to be in the Trump era.



Across the broadcast networks, full segments on two programs (CBS This Morning and NBC Nightly News) combined for a total of three minutes and six seconds.

Separately (because overnight shows are traditionally not included in NewsBusters tabulations, since they receive such few viewers), the early morning program Early Today show on NBC gave it 43 seconds.

Over on CNN and MSNBC, they combined for six minutes and 47 seconds of coverage hyping this piece of fake news. 

Three minutes and 22 seconds came from CNN's New Day Saturday while a minute and 35 seconds came from Saturday's MSNBC Live with Kendis Gibson.

And back on Friday, there was a one-minute-and-50-second piece during CNN Right Now with Brianna Keilar (which technically aired as a fill-in for CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin). To make matters worse, it featured soundbites of Allen speaking with correspondent Renee Marsh, a chyron decrying the "racist attack," and Keilar boasting of the school's ties to Karen Pence

By Monday evening, two of the six shows that ran the initial claims updated their viewers, while the other four shows had not yet aired since the hoax was revealed. Five of the six shows tried to link Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen, to the story because she teaches art part-time at the same school.

At 3:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, beginning the second hour of her afternoon show, CNN host Brooke Baldwin informed viewers:

An update on a story now we reported Friday. A 12-year-old girl who accused three white male classmates of holding her down and cutting her dreadlocks. Now, the school where it happened, Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, says that her story is false, and that the girl's family has just issued an apology.

She then read the apology: "'We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school, and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.'"

The CNN host added: "The school says the incident is part of a learning and healing process, and that they will continue to support all the students and families involved."



On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt read a 19-second update:

There are some important new developments in a story we told you about last week. The 12-year-old black student who claimed three white students pinned her down and cut her hair has now admitted her story was false, according to her school in Virginia. In a statement, her family says it sincerely apologizes to the three young boys that she accused.

If additional shows revisit the story and inform their viewers that the accusation was made up, this post will be updated accordingly.

Update: On Tuesday, CBS This Morning ran an update informing viewers that the claim was a hoax, and spent a minute and 25 seconds on the story.

NBC's Early Today did not update its report from last week.