The arrest of Bryan Dowling, the suspect in the murder of Brooklyn activist Ryan Carson, has sparked controversy over media coverage. While CBS 2 News blurred Dowling’s face in video footage, other news outlets such as Fox5NY and The Daily Mail published uncensored images and video of the suspect. Critics, including Charlie Kirk and Greg Price, have raised concerns about a double standard, questioning whether CBS would have blurred the face if the suspect was white. This incident highlights the ongoing debate over media portrayal of race and crime.
🚨 JUST IN: CBS is facing serious heat for blurring the face of a BLACK murder suspect, while routinely showcasing the faces of WHITE murder suspects front and center.
Why is CBS going out of its way to hide the skin color of the killer?https://t.co/J2LrVNqshz
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) October 5, 2023
Additionally, there are rumors circulating about Carson’s girlfriend, Claudia Morales, and her alleged lack of cooperation with the police during the investigation. However, neither Morales nor the police have addressed these rumors. It is important to note that law enforcement initially did not have a physical description of the assailant.
CBS blurs out the face of the black man who allegedly murdered leftwing activist and "poet" Ryan Carson with a knife in New York City.
Ask yourself: Would CBS blur the assailant's face if he were white? pic.twitter.com/3BGKKL7iI5
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) October 5, 2023
Some local media captured the moment when the Brooklyn murder suspect of antifa activist Ryan Carson was arrested by the NYPD. CBS New York censored Brian Dowling's face.
Neither Carson's BLM-activist girlfriend Claudia Morales nor the police have addressed rumors that she was… pic.twitter.com/hPkZjwXhlg
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) October 5, 2023
CBS New York likely blurred Ryan Carson's face because they're following the Poynter Institute's post-Floyd guidelines for media outlets to avoid "amplifying narratives that connect Black and brown communities to crime." pic.twitter.com/cvaMNmlreW
— Chris Menahan 🇺🇸 (@infolibnews) October 5, 2023
Speculation has also arisen regarding CBS 2 News’ decision to censor Dowling’s face. Chris Menahan suggests that the network could be following guidelines from the Poynter Institute, which advocates against amplifying narratives that connect black and brown communities to crime. Given that CBS New York could be one of the newsrooms that have implemented these guidelines, it is possible that this influenced their decision.
However, others argue that media coverage should not shy away from reporting the facts and should not contribute to systemic racism. Kelly McBride of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter believes that local news reporters have perpetuated narratives linking black and brown communities to crime, thus perpetuating systemic racism. It is important for news outlets to strike a balance between responsible reporting and avoiding perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
Overall, the controversy surrounding the media coverage of Bryan Dowling’s arrest highlights the complex issues surrounding race, crime, and the media’s role in shaping public perception.