CNN, NBC Update Viewers on Hoax Hate Crime Story

bradwilmouth | September 30, 2019
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Cross posted at the MRC's NewsBusters blog

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 Immanuel Christian School that, as of late this 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.

As of this evening, two of the six shows that ran the initial claims have updated their viewers, while the other four shows have not yet aired since the hoax was revealed. Five of those six shows had tried to link Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen, to the story because she teaches 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 Friday, the show had spent a minute and 50 seconds on the story, and was one of the shows that brought up Karen Pence's link to the school as the program was anchored by Brianna Keilar as fill-in host.

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.

On Friday, the show ran a full report, which did not try to insert the Karen Pence angle, in a segment that lasted a minute and 35 seconds.

Also on Friday, the early morning Early Today show on NBC gave it 43 seconds, and CBS This Morning spent a minute and 31 seconds discussing it.

And on Saturday, New Day Saturday on CNN gave it three minutes and 22 seconds, and MSNBC Live with Kendis Gibson devoted a minute and 35 seconds in the afternoon.

These four shows all made sure to bring up Karen Pence's employment at the Christian school.

If any of these shows revisits the story and informs their viewers that the accusation was made up, this post will be updated accordingly.