It’s been a little over a week since a career criminal plowed his red Ford Escape SUV through barricades and into the crowd at the Waukesha Christmas Parade, killing six people and injuring dozens.
The attack initially seemed like it would be the next major mainstream media storyline – but then Darrell Brooks Jr. was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide and the press has largely lost interest. The tragedy hasn’t resulted in round-the-clock cable news discussion about Brooks’ troubled past or possible motives, and mainstream investigative reporters don’t appear to be searching for clues.
“Left-leaning media outlets today want to frame every story through their predetermined narrative lenses. That’s what is happening here with the reporting of the Waukesha Christmas parade story,” DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News Digital.
Brooks’ violent past stretches back to 1999, when he was accused and later convicted of aggravated battery with intent to cause great bodily harm. Most recently, he allegedly ran a woman over and punched her in the face on Nov. 2. He has an outstanding warrant in Nevada for skipping bail on a sex crime charge and has shared a variety of alarming social media posts that could help provide a motive.
“These points were missing from recent reporting from CNN. In fact, not only have most outlets avoided digging into Brooks and a potential motive, they’ve avoided Brooks’ involvement altogether,” Fourth Watch editor Steve Krakauer, a former CNN digital producer, wrote.
CNN shocked on Sunday by declaring a moment of silence would mark one week since “a car” drove through the parade. Last week, The Washington Post used a similar tactic, tweeting the tragedy was “caused by a SUV” as both liberal outlets failed to mention who was driving the red Ford Escape in widely mocked, viral tweets. In the article chronicling the events of the parade, the Post continued to rely on the vehicle as the apparent cause of the bloodshed.
Even after Brooks was finally mentioned in the fifth paragraph of the Post story, the following paragraphs read, “The SUV then drove down Main Street, hitting more than 40 people and killing at least five of them… Down the road, instead of following the parade route and make a turn to get to Wisconsin Avenue, the SUV went straight through North West Avenue, passing over the barriers.”
Much like CNN was roasted for blaming the car, critics pummeled the Post on social media for villainizing the SUV.
“Cars, of course, don’t drive. People drive cars,” Krakauer wrote in his newsletter.
“Democracy dies in darkness, as the WashPost slogan goes now. So does, apparently, the effort to hide the culprit of a mass killing if it doesn’t fit into a preferred narrative,” Krakauer added. “Here we see a bias of omission – and a window into the sad reality that our media is not learning from its mistakes.”
McCall agrees, noting what is omitted from a news story is often as important as what is included.
“This ‘journalism of omission’ is being done consciously and does a disservice to the news consuming public,” McCall said. “Context in news stories is important and the background of the alleged perpetrator is part of that context. It provides a sense of causation for why an event happened. These news topics are sensitive, of course, but it does society no good when news outlets want to sanitize content in order to massage public perception.”
CNN and the Post are hardly the only liberal news organizations to downplay the attack, or Brooks’ role.
As of Monday morning, The New York Times had not covered the parade attack since Nov. 25. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently spent an entire segment on the horrific attack without mentioning Brooks once. She only referred to him as “the suspect” and MSNBC didn’t put his mugshot on screen during the segment, either.
“CNN and other liberal media outlets are portraying this as a car problem and shying away from focusing on the perpetrator because it would not fit their narrative that ‘White supremacists’ are the greatest threat of domestic terrorism,” Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox News Digital.
“Just look how they treated Kyle Rittenhouse, who committed no crime but was immediately falsely portrayed as a White supremacist militia member,” Jacobson added. “Narrative, not facts or evidence, seems to be guiding CNN and others.”
“3 left-leaning friends have independently texted me about this Vanishing National Story. They understand what’s happening, but can’t quite bring themselves to flat-out say it. ‘It’s f***ed up’ one wrote. 2 concede they now better understand conservatives’ media complaints,” Fox News contributor Guy Benson tweeted.
Other media outlets have referred to the attack as a “parade crash,” downplaying the intent prosecutors have leveled against the career criminal.
PBS wrote “Waukesha parade crash devastates holiday favorites ‘Dancing Grannies.’” USA Today repeatedly wrote about the “Waukesha parade crash” going so far as to label Brooks as the “Waukesha parade crash suspect.” Newsweek also updated news on the tragedy under the banner “Waukesha Deadly Christmas Parade Crash.”
“BREAKING: Prosecutor: 6th person, a child, has died in deadly Wisconsin parade crash,” CBS News correspondent David Begnaud tweeted Tuesday.
“Man charged for Waukesha parade crash made 1st court appearance,” NPR similarly declared in a headline.
CNN, HuffPo, ABC, Yahoo and Time Magazine have also referred to the horrific incident as a crash, too.
The framing even roused the ire of outspoken liberal actress Debra Messing.
“Dear Mainstream Media—a man intentionally drove his car through a parade killing 6 and injuring 50+. It was not an ACCIDENT,” Messing tweeted last week. “Call it by its name #WaukeshaMassacre.”
“And it was a domestic terror attack. Don’t minimize. Please,” she added.
Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center feels the press simply lies to the American public.
“If you really paid attention to the legacy media, you’d think a self-driving car had committed an act of terrorism,” Gainor told Fox News Digital.
“The legacy press lie … about everything. They lied about Trump, Russia, Biden, Hunter Biden and more. And they’ll keep lying because it’s the only thing they have left,” Gainor continued. “A huge percentage of Americans doesn’t trust them and the rest are catching on. Left-wing journalists are clinging to their waning power like a drowning man grabs a log in a flood.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Stephanie Pagones, Lindsay Kornick and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.