Fox News is apologizing for an infographic that aired on Special Report with Bret Baier on Friday that showed historic stock market reactions to racial unrest sparked by the assault or killing of African American men.
The graphic showed market gains after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King case, and the deaths of Michael Brown and George Floyd.
“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.”
Baier also tweeted the network’s apology.
On Friday, Baier had turned to Fox Business correspondent Susan Li for a segment on the economy and stock market. She first gave a report on jobs and individual stocks, before turning to the topic of the graphic. As it was shown, Li said, “Stock markets hitting new highs despite the nationwide protests this week, historically there has been a disconnect between what investors focus on and what happens across the rest of the country. For instance, in 1968, the week after the tragedy of Martin Luther King, the S&P 500 rose over 2%, also up the week after the Rodney King ruling, and Wall Street trading on the reopening instead, this year in 2020.”
The camera then turned back to her and she said, “Despite the positive surprise in the jobs market last month — the average Wall Street economist is still predicting the US economy to shrink by at least a third in the year’s second quarter from April to June. But may be encouraged now — to predict a faster recovery in the back half of the year.”
Other publications, like Fortune and The Wall Street Journal, have used similar data in stories on stock market reaction to the unrest.
But the Fox News graphic triggered harsh criticism on Twitter on Friday night, and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) tweeted, “This is absolutely outrageous and disgusting. This graphic tells every single @FoxNews viewer that Black lives can be exchanged for market gain.”
Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, wrote, “This is how they mourn the loss of black men at #FoxNews – by how much the stock market goes up. What. The. Hell!”