Fox News: Black deaths, stock market graphic was insensitive

FILE - In this April 15, 2019, file photo is Bret Baier during a Fox News town-hall style event, in Bethlehem, Pa. Fox News is apologizing for how it displayed a chart that was shown on the “Special Report with Bret Baier" comparing the stock market to the aftermath of controversial black deaths. In a statement Saturday, June 6, 2020, Fox said context was needed for the graphic that aired Friday to illustrate market reactions to historic periods of civil unrest. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fox News apologized Saturday for how it displayed a chart correlating the stock market’s performance with the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd, Martin Luther King Jr. and Michael Brown.

The graphic that aired Friday 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,” the cable channel said in a statement.

The apology followed a sharp backlash to the “Special Report with Bret Baier” segment. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, tweeted that the graphic makes it clear that Fox News “does not care about black lives,” while Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee chair and a MSNBC political analyst, posted, “This is how they mourn the loss of black men at #FoxNews – by how much the stock market goes up.”

Baier retweeted Fox’s apology without further comment.

The chart included on “Special Report” illustrated gains made by the S&P 500 index after King’s assassination in 1968; the Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014, and the May 25 death of Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. It also measured the financial yardstick against the 1991 acquittal of Los Angeles police officers in the beating of Rodney King.

It was shown as part of a segment with Fox News and Fox Business reporter Susan Li focusing on the market rally that followed an unexpectedly lower number of jobless claims.

Other business publications and TV channels in recent days have compared the market’s performance to current and historic social upheaval, but with significant background and explanation.