Accuracy in Media

When it came to the George Floyd and anti-lockdown protests, BuzzFeed News exposed its own double standard on how to frame or report on the protests.

BuzzFeed News headlined a photo essay about the Floyd protests, “27 Powerful Moments Of Hope During The Protests Over George Floyd’s Death.”

Its subhead also emphasized the positive framing of the protests: “While images of violent clashes and looting so often dominate media coverage of the protests, quieter moments of peace, learning, and understanding can go overlooked.”

Compare the positive framing of the Floyd protests to how BuzzFeed News treated the anti-lockdown protests several months before, when it headlined its photo essay, “These Pictures Show Crowds Protesting Against Coronavirus Lockdowns At State Capitols.”

The subhead for the photo essay was quick to politicize the protests, reading, “Conservative demonstrators gathered at the capitol buildings of Michigan, Kentucky, and North Carolina to protest against stay-at-home orders during a pandemic that has already left more than 26,000 Americans dead.”

The Floyd photo essay did not acknowledge that protests create a potential health risk during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but BuzzFeed News pointed it out in its photo essay about the anti-lockdown protests.

Other BuzzFeed News articles on the anti-lockdown protests emphasized how anti-lockdown protesters were far from the mainstream in their attempts to reopen state economies.

BuzzFeed News republished a Detroit Free Press article that highlighted the anger behind the anti-lockdown protests with the headline, “The Angry Protest Images From Michigan Don’t Tell The Whole Story As The State Decides How To Reopen.”

BuzzFeed News articles on the Floyd protests mentioned the police crackdown on Floyd protesters, without acknowledging the substantial financial damage from riots.

Instead, BuzzFeed News published an article about volunteers cleaning up neighborhoods after the riots were over.

One such headline read, “People Are Coming Together Across The Country To Clean Up Neighborhoods After A Weekend Of Protests.”

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