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September 02, 2014

NYT and BBC Both Cover Rotherham Rape Gangs, But Not So Much Their Government Protectors

Note the news of the headline: I am treating the NYT's and BBC's willingness to cover a major news story as if it is itself major news.

Which it is.

So let's see what they say when they bother to report stories they really don't want to.

NYT:

ROTHERHAM, England -- It started on the bumper cars in the children’s arcade of the local shopping mall. Lucy was 12, and a group of teenage boys, handsome and flirtatious, treated her and her friends to free rides and ice cream after school.

Over time, older men were introduced to the girls, while the boys faded away. Soon they were getting rides in real cars, and were offered vodka and marijuana. One man in particular, a Pakistani twice her age and the leader of the group, flattered her and bought her drinks and even a mobile phone. Lucy liked him.

The rapes started gradually, once a week, then every day: by the war memorial in Clifton Park, in an alley near the bus station, in countless taxis and, once, in an apartment where she was locked naked in a room and had to service half a dozen men lined up outside.

She obliged. How could she not? They knew where she lived. "If you don’t come back, we will rape your mother and make you watch," they would say.

At night, she would come home and hide her soiled clothes at the back of her closet. When she finally found the courage to tell her mother, just shy of her 14th birthday, two police officers came to collect the clothes as evidence, half a dozen bags of them.

But a few days later, they called to say the bags had been lost.

“All of them?” she remembers asking. A check was mailed, 140 pounds, or $232, for loss of property, and the family was discouraged from pressing charges. It was the girl’s word against that of the men. The case was closed.

Okay, so on the facts of the crime, they're reasonably complete and they seem accurate enough.

But how about on the crime behind the crime?

Here's where the NYT finally addressed the "uncomfortable dimension" of the issue:

It has highlighted another uncomfortable dimension of the issue, that of race relations in Britain. The victims identified in the report were all white, while the perpetrators were mostly of Pakistani heritage, many of them working in nighttime industries like taxi driving and takeout restaurants. The same was true in recent prosecutions in Oxford, in southern England, and the northern towns of Oldham and Rochdale, where nine men of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghan origin were given long prison sentences in 2012 for abusing up to 47 girls. Investigators in Scotland have reportedly uncovered a similar pattern of abuse.

Sexual abuse of children takes many forms, and the majority of convicted abusers in Britain are white. But as Nazir Afzal, the chief crown prosecutor in charge of sexual violence and himself of Pakistani heritage, put it, "There is no getting away from the fact that there are Pakistani gangs grooming vulnerable girls."

That's about all the NYT has to say about the "uncomfortable dimension." It then goes back to treating this as if it were, well, a #LocalCrimeStory, rather than one of serious socio-political dimensions where some perpetrators were let off scot-free -- and some victims were left to be further abused -- out of pure racial considerations.

In fact, earlier in the piece, the NYT dismisses the very serious political fallout from letting girls be repeatedly raped over a course of a decade as "partisan finger-pointing."

Erm... I rather think the police-sanctioned mass rape of young girls might be a situation that merits a little fixing of blame.

"Partisan finger-pointing" is what the NYT calls it when a political party they are sympathetic to is entirely responsible for a great and terrible disaster. (Here, the Labour Party of Britain.)

The BBC seems to avoid this angle entirely (at least in this clip), as if the story about how such a thing could have been permitted by government authorities for so long is a minor one.

They realize that such questions have "uncomfortable dimensions" so they don't ask them, and just talk about the crimes themselves. (Only a victim's lawyer broaches this question directly, late in the clip.)

There is more to this report than the clip below, I'm sure, but from what I see, they don't address the major questions much at all.


There are more and more uncomfortable dimensions the media simply refuses to even mention, huh?


Corrected: RotherHam, not Rotherdam, as I kept writing.

Of course I am thinking of "Rotterdam" for some reason.

And I don't even know where that is.


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posted by Ace at 06:49 PM

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