Fox News on Friday posted an offensive graphic tracking stock market gains in the wake of several infamous attacks on Black men.
In an image labeled “S&P 500,” the multicolored graphic showed stock market increases after racist events that rocked the nation, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the deaths of African Americans Michael Brown and George Floyd at the hands of white police officers. The graphic also included the Los Angeles uprising after the 1992 acquittal of four white officers in the near-fatal beating of black motorist Rodney King. The Fox News graphic, presented during news coverage and not on one of the channel’s right-wing commentary shows, calculated “percentage change” in the market “one week after event.”
Each event was followed by an uptick in the stock market, ranging from a boost of 3.4% after Floyd’s death late last month to a 1.2% gain following the acquittal in the Rodney King beating case.
Fox News’ targeting of the events linked to stock upticks shocked viewers. The graphic was presented as part of a story on Friday’s stock surge, which was linked to a positive U.S. employment report.
The figures appear to have been pulled in part from stories in Fortune and The Wall Street Journal, which presented them in a more negative light: that the stock market tends to simply ignore social upheaval.
“Investors largely ignored widespread protests over the weekend and looked instead to optimism over the economy beginning to recover,” Fortune stated on Monday.
The Journal noted in its headline that stocks rallied Friday “despite widespread protests,” adding: “That’s typical.” It noted stock market gains in the U.S. in 1968 — the “year that shattered America,” according to Smithsonian magazine — which included widespread protests against the Vietnam War, a deadly flu and King’s assassination. Stocks were up at year’s end, “defying all of the turmoil that the U.S. faced,” the Journal noted.
The Fox graphic specifically targeting four racist tragedies sent a chilling message to many on Twitter.
A Fox News spokesperson issued a statement Saturday apologizing for airing the graphic:
“The infographic used on FOX News Channel’s Special Report to illustrate market reactions to historic periods of civil unrest should have never aired on television without full context. We apologize for the insensitivity of the image and take this issue seriously.”
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