How Liberal media kept Brianna Kupfer story OFF their homepages


OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion


Media outlets that lean to the left ignore the lengthy criminal history of Brianna Kupfer’s alleged killer in their reporting, omitting his mugshot from their homepages as well.

Several liberal media giants – including the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, CBS, and CNN – failed to include information about Shawn Laval Smith’s violent past. Also, his picture, released by police in hopes that the public could help find him, was not included on websites’ landing pages.

It was not mentioned in the LA Times’ article that Smith had prior arrests, or that he had been released on a $1,000 bond for a misdemeanor in October 2020.

Records show that Smith is also free on a $50,000 bond in Charleston, South Carolina following an arrest for firing a weapon into a vehicle that was occupied in November 2019.

There was an indictment handed down in that case on March 16, 2020, just before COVID-19 paralyzed the courts. The docket demonstrates no further action in the case.

Shawn Laval Smith’s mug shots

Kupfer, 24, was killed last Thursday after texting a friend to say a person in the store was ‘giving her a bad vibe.’. She was working alone at the Croft House store when she was killed.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles police announced the identity of the chief suspect and offered a reward of $250,000 for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

CNN did not mention the alleged killer’s rap sheet; instead, the publication noted that Smith was considered ‘armed and dangerous’ and the story didn’t seem to appear on the main page of the publication on Wednesday morning.

Additionally, ABC News provided scant coverage; the publication acknowledged that there had been a ‘violent crime spike’ but did not provide details about Smith’s supposed pattern of crime or a photo of him.

NBC News ignored the information, focusing instead on the fact that the suspect had been identified and a reward offered for his arrest.

Brianna’s picture appeared on CBS’ homepage, but the angle of the story focused on her text to a friend on the day she was stabbed saying someone had given her ‘bad vibes.’

Brianna Kupfer

There was absolutely nothing in The New York Times as of yesterday (Wednesday).

Usually, left-leaning outlets emphasize the victims, while conservative outlets are more likely to focus on the criminals, according to Julie Mastrine, director of media bias ratings at AllSides.

‘This is me speculating, but the left tends to focus a lot on empathy and views crime in the context of society,’ she told reporters. ‘The belief there is that people commit crimes due to societal factors. Maybe they’ve experienced poverty or trauma.

‘And the right focuses more on personal responsibility, and they’re less likely to see crime as the result, or the fault, of larger society. They see it as an active individual will or flawed human nature.’

She added that some outlets hesitate to report on a person’s criminal past unless the person has been convicted of an offense.

The New York Post went into attack mode, though, going with a screaming headline reading: ‘LA DA ripped for being soft on crime after deaths of two women.’

According to the article, District Attorney George Gascon’s soft-on-crime policies are blamed for a surge in violent crime in Los Angeles.

The NY Post also included that Smith ‘had a lengthy criminal record’ and that he was also believed to be homeless.

Fox News featured a story with the headline, ‘Progressive prosecutors blasted as homicide numbers climb in Los Angeles, other left-wing cities.’

A prosecutor was interviewed for the piece, who urged voters to remove Gascon and similar DAs.

He criticized Gascon for promoting policies that led to shorter jail terms and lighter sentences for some crimes.

‘There are some people that are so bad that they deserve to go to prison,’ Hatami said. ‘And the reason for that is punishment, accountability, and protection for the public.’

Fox detailed Smith’s criminal background in another story.

On Tuesday, reports revealed that Smith was arrested on a charge of possessing stolen property, a misdemeanor, in Covina, California.

It was reported by a Covina police official that Smith was cited and released. Moreover, 15 months later, there was still no trial or plea deal.

In response to reporters’ inquiries, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s staff did not immediately respond. George Gascón took office in December 2020 with a vow not to prosecute many misdemeanors.

In the wake of Kupfer’s killing, Hatami, a long-time prosecutor in Los Angeles County, slammed Gascon’s progressive policies and argued that they are failing the community, along with other ‘woke’ DAs in cities with rising crime rates.

‘No parent should ever have to bury their child,’ Hatami posted on Twitter on Tuesday. ‘But, if you do lose a child to violence, we must have a DA who is willing to stand up and fight for the victims and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law. Every victim deserves a voice and we all deserve justice.’

There are dozens of prior charges on the suspected killer’s record in North Carolina and South Carolina, public records indicate.

On the East Coast, Smith has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, assault on a police officer, trespassing, possession of a stolen vehicle, and misdemeanor counts for larceny and possessing stolen goods. In those cases, the outcomes were not immediately clear.

His record of not appearing in court is lengthy, and he has been arrested on bench warrants several times. A Charleston court record shows that he was convicted in absentia after skipping court. It is not clear if he served the sentence, as it is sealed.

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