Cable News Frustrates Viewers With Overnight Coverage of Charleston Shooting

By Mark Joyella 

Fox News broke into a recorded re-air of The Kelly File at 12:49 a.m. ET to join MSNBC and CNN in taking a live news conference from Charleston, South Carolina, on the manhunt for a gunman who opened fire in one of the nation’s oldest African-American churches, killing nine people during a Bible study session.

After the news conference ended, at 1:04 a.m. ET, Fox News returned to recorded programming–Hannity, featuring an interview with Donald Trump. Fox had first reported the alert just after midnight.

CNN, which was first to report then news just after 10 p.m.,  continued with extensive coverage of the Charleston shooting, reversing a schedule change we reported yesterday that had the network dropping simulcasts of CNN International between 2 a.m. ET and 4 a.m. ET in favor of repeats of the true crime show Forensic Files.


MSNBC, which reported the breaking news at 10:45 p.m., stayed with shooting coverage until 2:00 a.m. ET, then carried a re-air of Hardball.

Fox News was last to report the shooting, at 11:22 on the ticker, followed by a live cut-in at midnight.

On Twitter, viewers–especially people watching on the West Coast–expressed frustration with all of the networks for being late to cover the story, and failing to stay with it.

During a news conference this morning, carried on all the cablers, Charleson police chief Gregory Mullen called on the news media, through traditional and social media, to help catch the killer. “The important thing you as the media can do is to help us catch this individual. You have the ability to get his picture, to get his car out to places quickly.”