CNN Had Some Absurd Reporting on 'Straight Outta Compton'

August 18th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

"Straight Outta Compton," a biopic about the rise of the hip-hop group N.W.A., debuted in theaters last week, and CNN was apparently surprised to find that no incidents of violence were reported following the film's release.

In a segment that has left some questioning the network's judgment, CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield expressed relief over the fact that, despite some theater's concerns, the movie did not induce criminal activity.

"Instead, it only led to longer lines, ticket lines and some big money, too," Banfield reported, noting that "Straight Outta Compton" more than doubled its projected ticket sales.

Though the news, in this case, that there was no news, it did not stop CNN from running the six-minute segment and prodding law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander for his interpretation. As he offers historical context about the controversial song, "Fuck Tha Police," which was released in 1988 in response to police brutality in Los Angeles, the headline below reads, redundantly, "Hip-Hop Film Had Long Lines, No Violence."

"As we went into the weekend, there was a lot of question as to whether certain theaters really needed additional security for this film, and as it turned out, the film went out without a hitch, there were no problems anywhere," Banfield remarked. "Critics are saying, See we told you so. Others are saying, It's because the security was there. How do you weigh in?"

Alexander, a former police officer who served in the 1980s, defended the decision of select theaters to take added precautions, citing the unpredictability of American society.

"There are some police organizations that are calling on people—members, and maybe even beyond their members—not to see this movie because of the message they think it sends," Alexander said. "We really have to get away from this whole 'f the police' to 'support the police.'"

After the analyst said his part, Banfield grinned and said, "I love having you on" and ended the segment without further comment. Evidently, the anchor was satisfied to let the law enforcement contributor make the case for the story's relevance—though exactly what that relevance might be is yet to be determined.

CNN's reporting caught the eye of several people on social media: