Apr 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Maxine Waters offers right-wing alternative universe for Chauvin trial

Data: Stanford Cable TV News Analyzer; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Stanford Cable TV News Analyzer; Chart: Axios Visuals

While Fox News has largely ignored the Derek Chauvin trial compared to competitors, conservative media seized on comments from Rep. Maxine Waters over the weekend, making it the single biggest trial storyline on social media since it began on March 29, according to NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The data shows that for conservative America, the story in Minneapolis is being used as a way to highlight the aggression of protesters rather than the police killing of a Black man.

By the numbers: The three biggest stories on social media about the trial since it began all came this weekend, all from conservative media, all reacting to Waters’ comments on Saturday night.

  • Sunday was the biggest day of engagement around the trial since it began.
  • 7 of the top 10 stories during this period came from conservative publishers, all nodding at the prospect of protestor violence.

The big picture: Conservative media is otherwise looking away from the trial on TV.

  • Data from the Stanford Cable News Analyzer shows that Fox News has spent 4.2 minutes this month covering the trial, compared to 51.7 minutes from CNN and 40.7 minutes from MSNBC.

Driving the news: Waters said last weekend that protestors need to "get more confrontational" if Chauvin were acquitted, prompting swift outcry from conservatives.

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