There's an old saying in journalism: If your mother says she loves you, check it out.
It's a facetious way of saying: Trust no one, verify everything.
Yet some of the biggest, most respected media outlets in the country failed to perform their due diligence when it came to the ridiculous claims in the Schapiro Group study about a nationwide child-trafficking epidemic. In an era defined by fast-paced blogging and doing more with less, reporters have precious little time to document the information they're regurgitating. This leaves readers vulnerable to pseudoscience and quackery.
- For background articles go to: www.villagevoice.com/sex-trafficking
- Feature story: Women's Funding Network Sex-Trafficking Study Is Junk Science
- Super Bowling for Dollars: The great American game is another chance to foist false research on a gullible media
- Beth Schapiro Responds: "We stand fully behind our work"
The following is an alphabetical list of news organizations that repeated the study's erroneous claims:
• CNN: "Online Sex Ads Complicate Crackdowns on Teen Trafficking," Sept. 14, 2010.
• Dallas Morning News: "Sex Trafficking of Young Girls Could Soar," Jan. 20, 2011.
• Detroit Free Press: "Sex Sites On the Web Exploit Nearly 160 Michigan Girls Monthly, Experts Say," Jan. 26, 2011.
• Detroit Free Press: "Advocates Work for Tougher Laws," Nov. 7, 2010.
• Fort Worth Examiner: "Sex Trafficking, Texas Children Bought and Sold Online," Jan. 25, 2011.
• Grand Rapids Press: "Human Trafficking, Exploitation On the Rise In Michigan," Sept. 6, 2010.
• Houston Chronicle: "Faith Groups Tackle Sex Trade Surrounding Super Bowl," Feb. 2, 2011.
• Miami Herald: "Girls Trapped In Modern-Day Slave Trade," Jan. 30, 2011.
• Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Jeff Bauer: Sexually Exploited Kids Are Victims," March 6, 2011.
• Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Teen Prostitutes Get New Status," Feb. 26, 2011.
• Minnesota Public Radio: "Sex Trafficking On the Rise in Minnesota," March 8, 2011.
• MsMagazine.com: "Jailing Girls for Men's Crimes," Dec. 8, 2010.
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• Pegasus News: "Study: Dallas Is Hotspot for Exploitation of Adolescent Girls," Jan. 28, 2011.
• St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Minnesota's Child Sex Profile Rising," Sept.8, 2010.
• USA Today: "More Activists Band Together to Fight Child Sex Trafficking," Sept. 30, 2010.
• WFAA: "Study Counts Sexually Exploited Girls in Texas," Jan. 19, 2011.