Fact Check: Murder Of 5-Year-Old Cannon Hinnant Is NOT Being Ignored By Media

Fact Check

  • by: Jessica Ravitz

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Murder Of 5-Year-Old Cannon Hinnant Is NOT Being Ignored By Media Media Coverage

Is the media ignoring the tragic death of a 5-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a neighbor in Wilson, North Carolina, on August 9, 2020? No, that's not true: The heartbreaking story about the killing of Cannon Hinnant, who was shot while playing outside his home, and the next-day arrest of 25-year-old Darius Sessoms, who's been charged with first-degree murder, has been widely reported in both local and national media outlets -- including CNN, The Washington Post, The Associated Press and more. The AP, which serves as the news wire service for many newspapers, TV, and radio stations, published the story about an arrest in the killing on August 10, 2020, which was then reposted by dozens of websites.

The claim that the media has stayed silent has appeared in memes and posts across social media, including this one on Facebook (archived here), which published on August 13, 2020. It opened:

Media Blackout by CNN NBC CBS ABC Huffpo Washpo Associated press, etc... His name was Cannon Hinnant #SayHisName

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

Another Facebook post shared a smiling photograph of the young victim, told the horrifying story of what happened to him and included this:

Where is the media outrage? Why is no one talking about this on the news? I'll tell you why; because Cannon Hinnant was white. Their outrage is only reserved for black people like George Floyd, a convicted felon who was high on methamphetamines when he was killed while resisting arrest. Cities will only burn when black criminals are killed while breaking the law.

This is how that post appears on social media:

This beautiful little 5 year old boy is Cannon Hinnant. Four days ago, a 25 year old black man named Darius N. Sessoms,...

Posted by John Kyle on Thursday, August 13, 2020

A third post said, "the national media has said nothing. Seriously, nothing." A fourth post read: "Not even a whisper on the mainstream media. His life mattered as much as anyone else's. Since the media refuses to acknowledge him, let's make sure we do." And a fifth post mentioning a lack outrage and coverage said:

We give George Floyd 4 televised funerals, a folded American flag,over 70 days of rioting and millions upon millions of dollars donated to his family. Hollywood held massive protests for George Floyd. What does this child get? WHAT DOES THIS CHILD GET?!??! THIS is why people are FED up. People are arguing that no masks constitutes murder. THIS WAS MURDER. Cannon Hinnant, a 5 year old boy shot point blank in the face and killed in front of his siblings. No media coverage. No outrage. His life MATTERED #SayHisName #AllmeansAll

The truth is that the media, and not just local news, has widely covered this tragedy. Cannon Hinnant's name and story has spread across the nation.

An early report from Associated Press, which has 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters republishing its stories, covered the arrest of a suspect in the killing on August 10, 2020 with a story titled 5-year-old shot to death in North Carolina; suspect sought. Click this Google search to see dozens of websites that reposted the story.

Here are just some of the other national stories that have come out in the aftermath of his killing:


  • 2020-08-17T15:08:35Z 2020-08-17T15:08:35Z
    Adding details of AP's August 10 report on arrest, dozens of websites republishing.

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  Jessica Ravitz

Jessica Ravitz, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is a former senior writer at CNN Digital. For more than a decade, she wrote longform narratives and profiles on topics ranging from gun violence, sexual assault and suicide to women’s health, spirituality and race.


Read more about or contact Jessica Ravitz

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