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When it comes to sexual offense issues, there’s enough outrage to go around

By Sandy . . . North Port, Florida, must be having a really slow news week. In one day, no less than six media outlets printed and aired stories* about the outrage expressed by parents of school children upon discovering that a person on Florida’s sexual offense registry was living within viewing distance of a school bus pick-up location.

After reading all six stories, I too am outraged. However, my outrage has a different focus.

I am outraged that, once again, certain elements of the media could not resist the opportunities to incite fear and panic and create the maximum in click-bait appeal.

I am outraged that some of the once highly esteemed and invaluable fourth estate has fallen to the point that not even a pretense of responsible journalism or balanced reporting can be found.

Without exception, the coverage of this “news” by these six media outlets segued almost immediately from the concern of parents to a discussion of one or more of the following:

None of this addresses the issue: Are the fears of the parents and the concerns for their children justified? None of that information aids them in analyzing or answering this.

Is the gentleman in question a threat to children? I don’t know. Could he be? It is possible. What could have been included that would have been more helpful than knowing the county-by-county count of the number of registrants in Florida?

How about these?

Could the journalists who wrote these articles have included the answers to these questions? With the possible exception of one or maybe two, yes. Of course, they would have had to do a little more work. They would have had to be willing to look at a couple of studies, interview a few people other than distraught parents, and dig into a few police and court records, but it would have resulted in being able to share with parents information that would help them understand the situation in a calm, dispassionate, fact-based manner rather than with hype and fear tactics.

That just seems like it would be so much better – doesn’t it?

 

* https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/local/sarasotacounty/parents-outraged-over-how-close-sex-offenders-home-is-to-bus-stop/67-192b9156-152d-4249-91bb-a7aea851ac26

https://www.wfla.com/news/north-port-parents-worried-about-bus-stop-in-front-of-sex-offenders-home/

https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/keeping-kids-safe-finding-sex-offenders-in-your-neighborhood/

https://www.wesh.com/article/parents-voice-concerns-over-orange-county-school-bus-stop-outside-registered-sex-offender-s-house/28640146

https://www.mysuncoast.com/2019/08/07/bus-stop-front-sex-offenders-home-north-port/

http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/bus-stop-being-moved-away-from-sex-offender-s-home-in-north-port

 

 

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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.