Whatever happened to objective journalism?

There is so much more to be said, but this will be my last post about this NewsWeek thing. There's so many other things going on in the world that it's time to leave this alone for now. It will rear its ugly head in some other form soon I'm sure.

So another piece of this sad NewsWeek article is the utter lack of journalistic integrity displayed. Here are the things that really boil my potatoes about the way this thing was written.

First, there is a very obvious bias in it but Leslie Bennetts, the author, fails to declare it. This is under the 'U.S. News' heading. It is not an editorial. It is not labeled as an opinion piece. But it is actually an anti-prostitution diatribe that uses the 'just published findings' of this 'study' as the tiny little hook it needs to call itself news. Bennetts and NewsWeek should be honest that this is an opinion piece instead of trying to portray it as fact.

Second, holy lack of citations batman! Supposed facts are stated everywhere in this article with not so much as one single citation of where these 'facts' were pulled from. It is littered with the phrases 'estimates suggest', 'common estimates state' and 'leading experts suggest'. Wow, that's pretty darn precise Bennett! Whose estimates are these and how did they arrive at them. And exactly who are these leading experts. This is the big one 'The most common estimates, oft-repeated by major media, suggest that 100,000 to 300,000 children are trafficked in the United States every year.' That sounds very scary. But does it make any sense at all? In 2008, there were just over 8.5 million people under 20 years of age living in the United States. So by this estimate anywhere from 1% to over 4% of the young people in the USA are trafficked into the sex trade. Really? How can this possibly be true. We can't ask because Bennett can't tell us who actually came up with that estimate. Marty Klein can, he says the figure was first presented by University of Pennsylvania Professors - but there's so much more to it that Bennett doesn't explain. Here's a bit from Marty Klein's article in Psychology Today:

"When University of Pennsylvania professors Richard Estes and Neil Weiner invented the figure "100,000-300,000," they weren't referring to ACTUAL prostitution or trafficking; they said the numbers 'estimate the number of children AT RISK for commercial sexual exploitation.' And who's 'at risk?'Almost everyone except Beaver Cleaver: loners, female gang members, kids who run away for 24 hours, transgender kids, kids who live near international borders, and others. In response to a recent Village Voice interview, Estes says 'kids who are kidnapped and sold into slavery? That number would be very small...a few hundred people.' American law enforcement officials estimate the figure is less than 1,000."

Anyone with a few basic math skills can tell you that there a big difference between 300,000 and 1000. Is there no responsibility on the author of this thing to back up her claims?

Third - presenting this horrible piece of propaganda as a legitimate study in the first place shows an utter lack of either investigative journalism or journalistic integrity or both. It's pretty clear that Bennetts didn't even read Farley's study, because the article makes claims that even the study doesn't make. Beyond that, any real journalist should be scratching the surface of this thing, finding out who funded it, what their bias was, what their methods were, and what the actual results were before just taking all of these salacious sound bites to press. It get attention for sure, but it causes a panic and furor about something that isn't really even happening - at least not in the way that Farley and Bennetts claim it is.

All right - time to move on to other things, like why Summer's Eve and L'Oreal suck.

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