Hate crimes against Jewish, Asian, LGBTQ+ and disabled Americans are underreported by Western media when compared to the reporting on attacks against other minorities, according to a new report by media watchdog HonestReporting.
“Jews are victims of more hate crimes per capita than all other groups in the United States yet HonestReporting's research shows that anti-Jewish hate crimes receive disproportionately little news coverage compared to other groups, and by a disturbingly large margin," HonestReporting CEO Daniel Pomerantz told The Jerusalem Post. "Hate crimes against Asian Americans, Americans with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community are similarly underreported in the media.”
HonestReporting reviewed 18 popular and mainstream Western media outlets and crossreferenced their coverage of hate crimes in the United States from 2018-2020 with the FBI's hate crime data from the same years. The amount of news coverage to attacks each year was averaged.
The minority group with the most coverage was Muslim Americans, with 6.32 articles per attack. Attacks on black Americans were underreported in previous years with less than 3 articles per attack in 2018, but have more than doubled since then, with 6.4 articles per hate crime in 2020. Anti-Latino attacks averaged around three articles per attack in the last three years. Antisemitism received just under 2 articles per attack, anti-Asian attacks yielded about 1.2 articles, LGBTQ people about 0.67 articles, and disabled Americans about 0.63 articles.
HonestReporting attributed the change in reportage of anti-black hate crimes to the reaction to the death of George Floyd in May 2020. Protests and riots against anti-black racism and police brutality followed in the wake of Floyd's death, creating widespread awareness of anti-black hate crimes.
In 2020 American Jews comprised just 2.4% of the US population, according to Pew. Despite this, in the past three years, Jews were the target of 59% of all reported religiously motivated hate crimes in the US, and the target of 10.5% of all hate crimes, according to the FBI. This makes Jews the third most targeted group by the total number of racist attacks, under LGBTQ people and above white Americans.
New York has been an epicenter of antisemitic attacks. In November 2019, physical attacks against jumped by 800% compared to the four previous months, according to NYPD hate crime statistics. A march against antisemitism attempted to bring awareness to the issue, but there have been spikes of anti-Jewish violence in May 2021, and again in January 2022. According to NYPD data, antisemitic incidents increased nearly 300% this January compared to the last.
FBI data shows that LGBTQ+ Americans were the targets of 17.7% of all hate crimes in the US in the last three years, despite being just 5.6% of the US population in 2021, according to Gallup. Anti-Asian hate crimes were 4.7% of all anti-ethnicity hate crimes in the US in the last three years, and 2.8% of all hate crimes. Americans with Asian heritage were 7% of the total population in 2021.
The discrepancy between the amount of per capita attacks against minorities and the coverage of the attacks has an impact on the continuation of the hate crimes, HonestReporting indicated.
"Hate crimes against Muslims received the most news coverage of any group by a large margin, and anti-Muslim hate crimes have begun to decline in recent years," said Pomerantz. "This indicates a correlation between adequate news coverage and building a safer world for America’s most vulnerable populations.”
When asked about reviewing the coverage of local media, which may give greater coverage of hate crimes in their immediate area, HonestReporting said it may follow up with additional research. However, the NGO focused on larger news outlets due to the issue of racist and antisemitic crimes having taken on greater national importance in recent years.