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TV News Scrambles to Cover Dallas Police Shootings

TV-news organizations scrambled to cover a horrifying series of shootings Thursday night in Dallas in which five police officers were killed and others wounded, setting a nation witnessing a series of escalating incidents of gun violence further on edge.

Fox News, CNN , CBSN and MSNBC began covering the events Thursday evening and overnight, while the broadcast networks began coverage in earnest in the wee hours of the night, with CBS anchor Scott Pelley already in Dallas Friday morning.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, who hosts a 9 p.m. show, was among the first to bring the Dallas events to national television, presenting coverage that she explicitly told viewers was hard to describe with definition. CNN’s Don Lemon began covering the events early in the 10 p.m. hour. MSNBC and NBC News brought Brian Williams on to the cable network at 12:35 a.m. to anchor coverage; Williams would subsequently lead a special report on NBC at 1 a.m. NBC offered its MSNBC coverage as a simulcast for local stations overnight. Elaine Quijano led coverage for the CBSN live stream late Thursday evening, while Shepard Smith anchored for Fox News between 11 p.m. and 1 am., after Megyn Kelly led another hour, pre-empting the regularly scheduled “Hannity.”

Wall to wall coverage continued in the morning, with Chris Cuomo and John Berman anchoring coverage for CNN; Savannah Guthrie breaking into NBC programming at 5:20 a.m. to cover President Obama’s statement on the event in Poland; Scott Pelley leading coverage on “CBS This Morning.”

The shootings erupted Thursday night at an otherwise peaceful demonstration to decry the killings this week by police of African-American men in Baton Rouge, La., and Falcon Heights, Minn. The death of Minnesota’s Philando Castile after a routine traffic stop was captured in horrific detail when his girlfriend live-streamed the incident via Facebook Live. In Dallas, the city’s police chief confirmed that one of the shooters told police his goal was to “kill white people, especially white police officers.” The shooter was eventually killed by a bomb that Dallas police set off via a robot device, Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters at a news conference early Friday morning.

The incidents have added renewed drive to the Black Lives Matter movement. According to Brown, the events of this week motivated Thursday’s attacks. Dallas police have three other suspects in custody. Brown would not discuss any details of the investigation at the news conference other than to describe some of the comments made by the shooter during his conversation with negotiators while he was holed in up a parking garage near the site of the shootings in the downtown area.

“He was upset about Black Lives Matter,” Brown said. “He was upset about the recent police shootings. He was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people especially white officers.”

Brown added that the suspect said “he was not affiliated with any groups and he stated that he did this alone.”

Coverage is expected to continue throughout the day. The broadcast networks’ three evening news anchors, Pelley, Lester Holt and David Muir, are expected to be present in Dallas for this evening’s broadcasts. Fox News Channel will run live broadcasts of all the programs in its primetime lineup:   “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” “The O’Reilly Factor,””The Kelly File,” and “Hannity.”

More to come…


(Pictured: Dallas Police Chief David Brown and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at Friday’s news conference)


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