More Disparate Coverage From LAT (And Rest of Media) In Covering Sex Abuse

By Dave Pierre
April 23, 2009

Check out the following two stories:

1. A former Catholic priest comes forward Monday (4/20/09) to claim that another priest abused him as a teenager nearly 30 years ago. (The accused priest has no other similar public complaints and denies the allegations against him.)

2. A former school teacher was sentenced Wednesday (4/22/09) after pleading no contest to eight felony counts, including having sex with two girls under the age of 16. The man "admitted to having intercourse with the girls, performing oral sex with the teens and taking extremely explicit nude photographs of his victims -- including pictures of him with one of the girls - before sending the images over the Internet."

Now it's quiz time! To which story did the Los Angeles Times devote two generous color photos and a 640-word article? Which story did the Times totally ignore?

If you've been a close follower of this issue here at NewsBusters, you already know the answer. The Times loudly trumpeted the case of the Catholic priests, even though the original story was reported three years ago (!). Meanwhile, it totally ignored the story of the teacher (Contra Costa Times, 4/23/09; Long Beach Press-Telegram, 11/5/08).

In addition, at Google news, the story of the priests returns "about 128" results. The story of the teacher? One.

We'll say it again: It seems the most important element to the Times when reporting the awful abuse of children is whether the words "priest," "bishop," or "Cardinal" is in someone's job title.

(And here's another angle to this post: Check out the image of the priests' story from the paper. Next to the story of the priests is a puny "California Briefing" item entitled, "Men get life in child sex case." It is the story of two men sentenced to life in prison for "multiple charges of interstate transportation of minors for sexual activity." Yet this atrocity only merits a very modest 124 words.)


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