How much airtime is devoted to depictions of police on television news? The timeline below uses AI to count the total seconds of daily airtime since the start of last year across CNN, MSNBC and Fox News in which a police officer was visible. From January to May 2020, police were depicted on average a few minutes per day, with a surge around the George Floyd protests. Yet after the protests, police were shown on television news at twice the rate as before the protests. The events of January 6, 2021 yield another small surge, while the Derek Chauvin trial yielded a large increase and in the months since, police have continued to be seen on television news at at least twice the rate they were prior to the George Floyd protests.
Over the past year and a half, police have been visible on Fox News more than 474,000 seconds, equalling around 131 hours, while CNN has shown them the least, at around half as much.
Looking at the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news broadcasts over the past decade, depictions of police are fairly consistent from the start of the data in 2010 through the end of 2012, at which point there is a marked increase in police depictions until late 2014, when there is a second jump to a new elevated normal. Reflecting their ubiquitiousness on television news, police have been displayed on evening news broadcasts at least a few minutes a month every month over the past decade.