New York Times downplays context of Jacob Blake shooting in Naomi Osaka article


The New York Times is once again omitting crucial details in the Jacob Blake shooting by claiming Blake was shot in the back “after exchanging words with the police.”

On Sunday, the Times published an article focused on tennis star Naomi Osaka. The article titled “Naomi Osaka Returns to the Stage, on Her Terms” highlighted Osaka’s much-anticipated return to the Olympic Games after dropping out of both the French Open and Wimbledon. 

In particular, the article noted her growing activism such as partaking in a Black Lives Matter march in Minneapolis, saying, “Her activism intensified after Jacob Blake was shot in the back after exchanging words with the police in Kenosha, Wis.”

Independent journalist Jeryl Bier noted the Times’ account of the incident tweeting, “Wow! ‘exchanging words’!” along with a lengthy Twitter thread that dissected the New York Times’ own reporting on Blake’s shooting. While the paper originally acknowledged that Blake was holding a knife during his confrontation with the police, this latest piece omitted that detail.

NEW YORK TIMES CALLED OUT FOR IGNORING JACOB BLAKE’S ADMISSION HE HAD KNIFE DURING POLICE SHOOTING 

Bier tweeted “Jan. 5, @NYTimes: ‘Mr. Blake had admitted to holding a knife… switching it from one hand to another… and … Mr. Blake had turned toward an officer w/ the knife immediately before he was shot.’ Jul 25, NYTimes: ‘Blake was shot in the back after exchanging words w/ the police’”

While the New York Times story from January 5 did acknowledge that Blake was armed at the time of his shooting, it did not acknowledge that this came from Blake’s own admission. Instead, it quoted police officials claiming Blake to have been armed as well as Blake’s attorney Benjamin Crump denying the claim. The paper also previously claimed that Blake was unarmed prior to further investigation.

Bier called out the Times for what he referred to as a “bias of omission.” Writing “Yet the @nytimes has completely ignored the story & interview, despite writing articles about Blake before and after the January 14th interview.”

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Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot on August 23 by a white officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after police responded to a 911 call from Blake’s girlfriend. He was left paralyzed by the shooting which led to massive violent protests within the city. Blake later admitted that he was carrying a knife at the time of the shooting. 

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