Nancy Grace: Pandering profiteer

By Sandy . . . I get a large number of emails each day, many containing links to stories or news items. I cannot read them all, and I generally make that decision in less than a second. What determines whether I click or not? Maybe the title, the publication, or the person who sent it to me.

In this case, it was primarily the name Nancy Grace jumping out at me. Among the pro tougher-on-crime proponents, Ms. Grace is one of the more colorful. What would she have to say this time? As it turns out, this was not a story. It was not a news item. It was an advertisement.

Turns out that Ms. Grace, expert as she is, has prepared a five-part series of videos under the category of keeping your children safe. And right now it is 40% off AND comes with a flexible payment plan.

Like most good sales pitches, it ends with a clincher designed to stop you in your tracks if you were considering leaving the site without purchasing. It asks, in large, bold letters:

If your child doesn’t come home from school today, what would you do? and follows that with four “supportive” points designed to scare any parent almost to death:

  • Over 450,000 missing child reports are made every year.
  • One in seven runaways are believed to be victims of child sex trafficking.
  • 38% of attempted abductions occur while a child is walking to or from school.
  • 78% of kidnapped children who are murdered will be killed in the first three hours.

With all these numbers and statistics, I went into automatic research mode, and every site I found, from private child advocacy groups to governmental sites, gave the same information. It was most succinctly put together on the Polly Klass Foundation site. The relevant points in contrast to three of Ms. Grace’s points are these:

  • Of the 450,000 missing child reports made every year, 99.8% of the children who go missing do come home.
  • Only about 100 children (a fraction of 1%) are kidnapped each year in the stereotypical stranger abductions you hear about in the news. About half of these 100 children come home safely.
  • Concerning the percentage of kidnapped children who are murdered, what is not generally reported is the fact that this statistic refers to the very small group of children abducted by violent or predatory kidnappers. Break it down: approximately 100 a year are kidnapped by someone who might kill them. Approximately half are recovered and returned safely home. That leaves about 50. How many are killed? It almost always makes national news. One…two…maybe three in a horrible year. Even double that if you think national news misses some. One is one too many, but giving the impression that 78% of children who are kidnapped – and that they are kidnapped in alarming numbers — will be killed in the first three hours of being missing is grossly – and deliberately – misleading.
  • For Ms. Grace’s second point, run-aways and sex trafficking, the statistic may be true. It may not be true. No one knows. What is known is that a significant number youth who are run-aways go missing from foster care and social services programs. The issue of homeless and throw-away youth in our nation is a blight that we, in my opinion, have yet to address adequately.

In presenting the items for sale, the sales pitch is, “For your own sake, for the sake of your children and the people that you love – know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.” And what would that be? Why get the Nancy Grace video series, of course.

These are the topics of each of the videos in the series and my analysis and ranking of the value of each:

Lesson 1: Safe in Your Own Home: Learn the secrets to protecting your home and stopping child abductions and crimes before they happen. I’ll rate this one at 75, maybe 80%; protecting one’s home: a good thing; stopping crime before it happens: good. Teaching your children common sense general safety while they are at home: good. However, since the number of true child abductions of the type suggested here, i.e., by a predatory stranger, is on average 100 per year, and since Lesson 4 claims that 38 of those happen while walking to or from school (a number that I cannot verify) that leaves 73. This is somewhere in the neighborhood of how many children are struck by lightning each year. Children who are predatorily abducted by strangers for nefarious purposes are seldom taken from their own homes.

Lesson 2: Safe Out and About: What’s the one thing you should do every morning to prepare for an abduction? Learn how to keep your children safe from predators while you’re out and about. This one gets a 0. Imagine being a kid raised in a home where every morning you are prepared against being abducted. Remember: on average 100 kids a year are abducted in the manner being talked about here. And almost all situations that place children at risk from sexual predators or any type of harm occur in homes, either their own or that of someone they trust and have a relationship with, not while they are “out and about,” and not by strangers, which is what is implied here.

Lesson 3: Safe Online: How do you stop your kids from inviting predators into your living room? Learn to combat the threat of online predators, bullies and other dangers new technology brings. Without having seen it, I’ll give this one 90%. Kids absolutely must be taught computer and online safety, but it needs to be focused on the facts, and I don’t know if this one is.

Lesson 4: Safe at School: 38% of attempted abductions occur while a child is walking to and from school. How can you be prepared? How can you stop it? I don’t know how to rate this one – maybe 10%. Remember, it is talking the stereotypical stranger kidnapping, which is approximately 100 per year, an infinitesimally tiny number of America’s school children, even those who walk to school. The claim is that 38 of those abductions happen while walking to or from school. Of course, it does say attempted abductions. First, I cannot verify this number at all. Secondly, many, many reported attempted abductions were nothing of the sort, so that makes the number even more suspect. Should children be taught never to get in a car with someone they don’t know or go anywhere with someone they don’t know no matter what they say (lost puppy; parents in accident)? Of course. But raising a child to believe that he is in danger of being snatched off the street every time he is outside is unconscionable.

Lesson 5: Daycare Dangers and Nannies from Hell: Can you really trust your babysitter, daycare or nanny with the thing you love most? Learn what to look for and what to ask. Depending on how this is presented, this one could be 100%. Proper screening for anyone hired to look after your children is essential. However, I wonder if this lesson raises the fact that almost all sexual harm and virtually all harm of other types to children are committed by those already within the family circle of trust – family members, peers, and the children’s authority figures.

Overall, this series seems to be about 50% helpful, 50% harmful, and 100% fear-mongering.

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Sandy Rozek

Sandy is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

This topic contains 12 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Mike 4 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #53142 Reply
    Sandy Rozek
    Sandy Rozek
    Admin

    By Sandy . . . I get a large number of emails each day, many containing links to stories or news items. I cannot read them all, and I generally make t
    [See the full post at: Nancy Grace: Pandering profiteer]

  • #53148 Reply
    Avatar
    Ed C

    Sandy, thank you for having no stomach for BS.
    Teaching children blanket “stranger danger” actually puts them in more danger. Often children are taught to run to a policeman if they feel endangered. Good idea, but what are the odds of the police being in the right place at the time? Since the chance of a stranger abduction is very low to begin with, children would be safer if taught to run any other adult in the vicinity while yelling for help. The odds of encountering a second nefarious abductor are too tiny to even consider.
    Veritas.

  • #53149 Reply
    Avatar
    Timothy

    Nancy was an HLN star. I used to watch her broadcasts and see her exploit those who’d suffered by the criminality of others. She is hardly the only TV HOST to do so. Many networks do whatever gets ratings and advertising dollars. Victimization is profitable and so many promote it for that reason alone.

  • #53151 Reply
    Avatar
    d

    As long as there is money to be made from lies without consequences the truth will forever be hidden.

    • #53340 Reply
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      constitutional bill

      What a profound statement d.

  • #53152 Reply
    Avatar
    Dustin

    So in a nutshell, Nancy Grace is essentially selling what is (or should be) common sense using grossly inflated and over-exaggerated statistics. Not surprising – salesmanship and marketing is 95% bulls**t.

    Equally (if not more) sad is there’s apparently a market for this…

  • #53155 Reply
    Avatar
    Old Offender

    Unfortunately fear sells. What a sleazy way to make money by pandering fear and distorting facts.

  • #53192 Reply
    Avatar
    Facts should matter

    She’s John Walsh in a skirt and knows how to run the outrage train for her base.

    This is the single most disturbing problem with our current culture. We’re addicted to justice, revenge -and most of all – knee-jerk outrage.

  • #53216 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    I have to agree with most all these folks that have posted. Talk about the invasion of the body snatchers or warning signs. Talk about the money factor and newscasters that won’t give one a leg to stand on. Facts are facts but truth is truth.

  • #53355 Reply
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    Donna

    Nancy is just what “most” people think. The big scare was over 20 years ago Nancy, find another way to make money. I hear woodworking is good for the soul.

  • #53474 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    Pandering profiters or Pandering profilers. Sandy you have something there. Now I dont’ know if your writing articles to win a pulitizer but this articles says volumes. to the lessers of the two evils.

    There’s a saying, Truth is stranger than fiction, so where does that lead pervet justice.? In the eyes of the beholder or in the eyes of others or some callous action by this lady for her short shot to fame. One has to understand truth is more important than someone giving a review of callousness.

    While I mentioned all the commets were good it really boils down to each person’s opinion or who is castrating who or even themselves. Sandy you have something with this article you just have to focus more on the positive or should we all realize that its ok to marry a 16 yr. old or understrand that America needs a “Leap of Faith”. Government should be cleaned up too.

  • #53610 Reply
    Avatar
    Casey

    Caution should be exercised in proportion to the risks, otherwise we may end up missing out on life. It’s sad how media plays on our fears like this. Thank you Sandy for sharing the facts so we know how to respond to this kind of irrationality.

  • #53786 Reply
    Avatar
    Mike

    This is a link where she gets called out on this very subject. Shes gets mad and walks out. Nothing inappropriate but they sort if call her out on doing this very thing.

    (youtube link removed by moderator. Please review the post rules)

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