Every major broadcast and cable news network broke into regular programming Tuesday afternoon to cover the former Minneapolis police officer's verdict in the killing of George Floyd. Even ESPN preempted regularly scheduled programming to cover the verdict with Stephen A. Smith reacting on SportsCenter, while NFL Network covered the aftermath of the trial. “Justice has been served,” CNN anchor Don Lemon said after the verdict was read on Tuesday. His colleague Wolf Blitzer called it “a powerful moment in American history.” The verdict was even celebrated on Fox News, known for being anti-Black Lives Matter and pro-police, with Jeanine Pirro saying: “Clearly, the verdict is supported by the facts. Right now, what people need to understand is that the American justice system works. That people believe in lady justice. That, if we give it a chance, it can work.” Her Fox News colleagues Juan Williams said “it would have been a kick in the stomach” if Chauvin had been cleared of the charges. "The celebrations of the talking heads echoed those that erupted from the crowd gathered outside the courthouse when the guilty verdicts were announced shortly after 5 p.m.," reported The Washington Post's Jeremy Barr. "The three-week-long trial had received widespread coverage across broadcast and cable news networks since it began on March 30, with reporters and analysts on the ground in downtown Minneapolis."
Greg Gutfeld melted down on Fox News after his colleagues wondered if he was "off his meds": Gutfeld elicited groans from his The Five colleagues when he said: “I’m glad that he was found guilty on all charges, even if he might not be guilty of all charges, I am glad that he is guilty of all charges because I want a verdict that keeps this country from going up in flames." Gutfeld was chastised by his colleagues, including Jeanine Pirro, who supported the verdict. After Fox News analyst Ted Williams suggested he was "off his meds," Gutfeld responded: “Excuse me?! What did you say?! What did you say?! Excuse me?!”
Derek Chauvin verdict revealed the two sides of Fox News: "That tone of eagerness to second-guess lay a bit beneath the surface in Fox’s immediate coverage of the verdict — perhaps because it happened during the day, when Fox still aims for something slightly more even-handed," Daniel D'Addario said of Gutfeld's comments. "Even still, the absence of onetime face of the network’s news side Shepard Smith was felt as subtext slipped into text. Gutfeld overstepped even by Fox’s own standard — getting shouted down by Jeanine Pirro — by saying that 'I am glad he was found guilty on all charges, even if he’s not guilty on all charges,' darkly raising the specter of imagined riots that might have happened had the verdict gone a different way, and suggesting that the jury had made their decision for reasons external to the evidence. This ran against the narrative Fox News had been constructing, one about the system acting as it should in order to bring a single bad apple to justice. In the main, Fox had been, in the minutes after Chauvin’s guilty verdict, careful to seed their dark suggestions with subtlety within a generally affirming-seeming message...Two versions of a network that has made its name on deepening American division came to a head in a moment that epitomized that division. That split within Fox News seemed apparent from moment to moment and even within sentences, as personalities shifted from declaring that there was no larger problem with the country and that it was a relief that the case was over to finding and amplifying any mitigating factor they could. This split — amplified by the presence of freewheeling evening personalities in a daytime news breakout, something it’s hard to imagine happening in the same way during Smith’s tenure at the network — seems likely to deepen, for all that the Pirros of the network seemed ready to turn the page."
Tucker Carlson accused the jury of convicting Chauvin because it was scared: "The jury in the Derek Chauvin trial came to a unanimous and unequivocal verdict this afternoon: Please don’t hurt us," Carlson said. “The jurors spoke for many in this country. Everyone understood perfectly well the consequences of an acquittal in this case. After nearly a year of burning and looting and murder by BLM, that was never in doubt.”