Missing patterns in corporate news: Project Censored’s top 10 underreported stories of 2020 

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7. Underreporting of missing and victimized Black women and girls

Black women and girls go missing in the United States at a higher rate than that of their white counter­parts. And that very fact goes missing, too.

"A 2010 study about the media coverage of missing children in the United States discovered that only 20% of reported stories focused on missing Black children despite it corresponding to 33% of the overall missing children cases," Carma Henry reported for the Westside Gazette in February 2019.

And it's only getting worse.

"A 2015 study discussed in the William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice found that the disparity listed in the 2010 study between the reportage and the reality of missing Black children had increased substantially," Project Censored noted: 35% of missing children cases vs. just 7% of media stories.

That discussion appeared in a paper that made two other pertinent points. First, that Black criminal perpetrators are over-represented in the media, while Black victims are underrepresented, and second, that "because racial minorities are identified as criminals more often than not, non-minorities develop limited empathy toward racial minorities who are often perceived as offenders."

Non-minorities in the media are obviously not exempt.

"Media coverage is often vital in missing-person cases because it raises community awareness and can drive funding and search efforts that support finding those missing persons," Project Censored noted.

It went on to cite an illustrative extreme case:

In October 2019, "The Atlanta Black Star shed light on perhaps the most prolific offender against Black women and girls in recent history, Jason Roger Pope, who has been indicted on charges relating to human trafficking and child sex crimes," Project Censored wrote. "Pope, a white South Carolina promoter and popular disc jockey better known as DJ Kid, has made claims sug­gesting he may have participated in the trafficking, assault, and/or rapes of nearly 700 African American girls — primarily underaged — right up until his arrest in August 2019."

The arrest didn't come out of the blue.

"Pope has police records going as far back as 2011 relating to sexual misconduct with minors. Yet outside of a few local news outlets, the corporate media has been silent on Pope's crimes."

Black people are also over-represented as victims of sex trafficking, according to statistics from Human Trafficking Search: They account for more than 40% of confirmed victims compared to 13.1 percent of the population.

While there is some coverage from small independent sources, "this gap in coverage of missing Black women and girls has gone widely underreported," Project Censored noted.

It cited two exceptions (one from ABC News, another from CNN).

"But, broadly, U.S. corporate media are not willing to discuss their own shortcomings or to acknowledge the responsibilities they neglect by failing to provide coverage on the search for missing and vic­timized Black women and girls."



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