Network journalists say Madison is not Ferguson

CBS national news crews talk about covering Tony Robinson shooting

Two network journalists said there are distinct differences between covering the police shooting deaths of Tony Robinson and Michael Brown, most noticeably how leaders initially responded to the police shootings.

“I’ve been impressed here by the way everyone’s worked together: the police, the police union. And, of course, the family of the man who was killed,” CBS News field producer Mark Hooper said. “All asking for calm. All saying they trust the police department. Everybody working together to keep things calm.”

“One of the things I saw in Madison was older African American males sitting down with younger African American males. And they shared their experiences and fears, and hopes, in order to have a conversation for how they could go forward and how they can take action,” CBS News associate producer Ryan Corsaro said. “And I think that helped the situation to remain calm.”

Corsaro and Hooper were part of the CBS News crew that traveled to Madison with correspondent Dean Reynolds. Hooper said the news organization decided to send staff to Madison because they were not sure if a Ferguson-like situation could happen in Wisconsin’s capital city.

“Whether this would spiral out of control. And whether there was an issue here that we could explore in a bigger picture. In terms of police and minorities confronting each other in the streets,” Hooper said.

What both journalists said they found was a story far from Ferguson.

“When it came to the (Ferguson) protest side and the police side, things escalated very quickly. And things continued to do so night after night after night,” Corsaro said. “Here in Madison we didn’t see the type of fervent anger with uncontrolled crowds. We still had crowds in Madison that were loud and fervent, but they weren’t committing any acts of violence or theft or destruction of property.”

“Madison is not Ferguson,” Hooper said. “There’s been a very different response. And I think there’s going to be a very different outcome.”

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