True to brand, CNN had a decidedly skewed angle in their coverage of the biggest story out of the 94th Academy Awards Sunday, falling just short of referring to Best Actor winner Will Smith’s slap of comedian Chris Rock as a “mostly peaceful assault.”
The most talked-about moment from the Oscars featured Smith storming on stage during the live broadcast to physically reproach Rock for a joke that visibly upset his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had been presenting the best documentary film award while making jokes at the expense of celebrities in the audience.
As reported, Rock joked about the bald head of Pinkett Smith, a decision made based on her struggle with the autoimmune disorder alopecia, and how he looked forward to seeing her in a sequel to Demi Moore’s 1997 film “G.I. Jane.” Smith later apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, for his behavior during his acceptance speech for his performance in “King Richard.”
The assault that sparked disputes by social media pundits in support of Smith or Rock, rivaling the Edward vs. Jacob posturing from years back by “Twilight” fans, left CNN reporting that matter as an “earlier incident.”
Will Smith won his first Academy Award on Sunday night and offered his apologies to the Academy and others for an earlier incident in which the actor appeared to strike presenter Chris Rock. https://t.co/4ZnOiez7r2
— CNN (@CNN) March 28, 2022
“Will Smith won his first Academy Award on Sunday night and offered his apologies to the Academy and others for an earlier incident in which the actor appeared to strike presenter Chris Rock,” the headline stated.
Relying on a video to layout the details of the assault, CNN chose to focus on Smith’s allusion in his acceptance speech that, like Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, whom he portrayed, he “was a fierce defender of his family.”
The fact that CNN noncommittally described the event by stating Smith “appeared to strike” Rock was too much for the internet to bear. Like the “mostly peaceful protests” of 2020, Twitter users laid into the hedged reporting.
"appeared"?@CNN : It was a mostly peaceful physical assault. https://t.co/ooC7UOnb68
— Jerry Bohl, Jr. (@jr_bohl) March 28, 2022
"Appeared to strike…"
What has happened to this network? https://t.co/2gs2bjAn25
— Rob 🌻🇺🇦 (@DCRobMan) March 28, 2022
Sean Spicer, host of “Spicer & Co.” on Newsmax, did his best to help CNN understand how all of the facts presented make the case against Smith fairly damning and that they had truly fallen into disrepair.
This is how bad @CNN is
Will Smith didn’t “appear to strike Chris Rock”
It was on video.
Chris Rock said it.
Will Smith actually apologized
If there was an Oscar for pretending to be a news organization you’d be in your category https://t.co/dapzkDW5NT
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) March 28, 2022
“appeared to”. Dude. I reckon you’re good to say he struck him. There were one or two witnesses.
— James Gill (@JamesGillComedy) March 28, 2022
While the Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement after the award ceremony that explained Rock would not be pressing charges against Smith while affirming “the incident involved one individual slapping another,” CNN “appeared” to be more concerned about getting sued than Smith who was later seen enjoying himself at an afterparty.
The Los Angeles Police Department told @ABC News it is aware of the onstage altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock, but no police report has been filed. https://t.co/F827hXsWGm pic.twitter.com/ITvGPCmDhr
— ABC News (@ABC) March 28, 2022
“appeared to strike” …. lmao TF. He slapped him. CNN u can call it as it is. U won’t get sued for defamation. The whole world saw it live lolol.
— Mayo (@YouDontKnowISH_) March 28, 2022
One individual’s reaction to the original chyron from CNN that described the fiery scene in Kenosha, Wisconsin behind their reporter as “mostly peaceful” is just as apt for this story as it was at the time.
If they’re lying to you when it’s this obvious, think of all the other things they are misrepresenting to protect a narrative.
— blank (@TheLocalGod) August 27, 2020
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