The Rockville Rape News Coverage

 

Two young men, ages 17 and 18, were enrolled as freshmen at a public high school in Rockville, Maryland after being detained and then released by federal immigration authorities. Both were in the country illegally. The students forced a 14-year-old girl into a bathroom stall at the school raped her, sodomized her, and forced her to perform oral sex on them  as she cried out for them to stop, according to police reports. Police collected blood and DNA at the scene.

Were you aware of this case? I wasn’t, and I live in the D.C. metro area, which includes Rockville. I wasn’t aware, apparently, because I have personally boycotted Fox News as a regular news source, relying instead on the straighter Fox Business channel and some equally biased sources that don’t prominently employ the likes of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, the Fox and Friends smarms, or encourage sexual harassment of female personnel.

The Washington Post wrote about the case, but relegated the illegal immigration component to afterthought status. Doing this made it a local story only, and the headline, “Two Rockville High students arrested for allegedly raping classmate at school” made it an easily ignored story. I assume high school students are periodically raped; I assume that, as in college, students occasionally falsely claim rape; I assume that it’s a big country, and bad stuff happens. The Post doesn’t mention the illegal immigrant angle until after 224 words. Without that aspect, the story can not be called national by any stretch of the imagination.

The New York Times noted, in a feature about Fox News coverage, that

“[T]here was also considerable time given to topics, like a rape case in Maryland, that viewers would not have heard about if they had turned to CNN or MSNBC. The rape case, which involved an undocumented immigrant and went virtually uncovered on most networks, received almost hourly updates on Fox, and at times was used as proof that Mr. Trump’s calls for tighter borders and a crackdown on immigration were justified.”

That’s a fair assessment of the tone of the Fox  coverage, as I have checked it on YouTube. Of course, one incident doesn’t prove anything: that kind of coverage is why I don’t watch Fox. This story does have a res ipsa loquitur aspect to it, though: if the US enforced its immigration laws sufficiently to stop these two rapists from slipping through the cracks, this 14-year-ol girl would not have been raped, at least by them. The Times also was correct: none of the major news networks covered the story, and it sure wasn’t going to be mentioned where hip millennials get their news, the comedy shows. Ah, but those stories of the poor, oppressed, good illegals are newsworthy, and covered everywhere.

Does that seem like objective, balanced, ethical news coverage to you? Because it isn’t.

Then there is the AP coverage. Acknowledging, as the Post and the Times did not, that a horrific rape by illegal immigrants indeed is a story of national concern, the Associate Press included this jaw-dropping statement by Jack Smith, the superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, which oversees the school where the rape occurred. He said,

“Some try to make this into an issue of immigration. We would like to change the conversation….We serve every student who walks in the door. It is not only the right thing to do, it is the law.”

Why does he want to “change the conversation”? If illegal immigrants rape high school students, that is germane to the issue of illegal immigration. Pretending otherwise is allowing political bias to warp the public’s understanding of the truth.

Thus we are left with these thoughts:

1. Is it possible that reporting the story with an emphasis on the illegal immigrant status of the rapists AND attempting to bury that status are both bad journalism? No. It should be obvious that the illegal immigrant component makes the story one of national interest. The Post was being intentionally obtuse, and intentionally misleading its readers. Verdict: Unethical, biased, partisan journalism.

2. Over-hyping the story’s immigration angle is also misleading, but Fox has this defense: If only one news source is covering the important aspects of a story that the Left-allied mainstream media is intentionally ducking (as ABC, NBC, CNN and CBS did), isn’t it responsible for the one source focusing on the real issues to make up for that distorted reporting by reporting a little louder?

I’m not sure about that. When does compensating for bad reporting elsewhere turn into bad reporting itself? Of course, if the MSM wouldn’t keep distorting the news to match its political wish lists, the issue would be moot.

3.  On Fox News, attorneys for the accused students ranted about how national focus on their clients’ illegal status was unfair. Well, they are defense attorneys; this is their job. It stinks, but somebody has to do it. One attorney complained that the two men’s immigration status was irrelevant to the case.  It’s irrelevant to guilt regarding the rape charges, but it’s not irrelevant to fact that a girl was raped by two men who were only able to rape her because of the irresponsible, law-avoiding, illegal immigration-encouraging policies championed by the Obama Administration and allowed to continue through  bipartisan incompetence and neglect.

The other lawyer then complained her defendant and the school board were getting anti-immigrant “death threats” because of the media attention, such as it is. Gee, that’s too bad: so what? If your client hadn’t raped someone in a country he had no business being in, that wouldn’t be happening, would it? The news media is supposed to keep ugly news stories secret so wackos won’t misbehave? Is that the theory?

4. Further embossing his record as the most embarrassingly incompetent and ethically-muddled ethics watchdog in captivity, CNN shill/hack/apologist (Shihackagist?) Brian Stelter attacked Fox for covering a story his own network unconscionably ignored:

“Rapes and assaults and murders are local news stories on a daily basis. But when do they break through to become national news and when do they not?..This week, the health care bill, the talks in the House dominated cable news coverage all over the place, but Fox News also focused heavily on another story and sometimes tying it to the President’s immigration agenda….Now on Fox, all roads lead back to media bias. So Tucker Carlson called out channels like CNN for not covering this story thoroughly, for not covering it extensively…But there was another story with Maryland ties that got little to no news coverage anywhere on Fox or any other channels. This was about an army veteran, an alleged white supremacist who drove to New York and attacked a 66-year-old black man with a 26-inch knife, killing that man. But this story received almost no coverage on Fox or CNN or anywhere else for that matter. Another example of a crime but not a crime that fit the political agenda of those pro-Trump hosts on Fox.”

All together now?

“HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!”

  • When rapes and murders involve illegal immigrants, they are immediately national stories, and especially so when there are constant media attacks on the ICE finally attempting to enforce immigration laws. Whee national news sources intentionally avoid such stories, that increases the importance of other sources covering them prominently.

Is Stelter doing anything other than covering for his employer’s failure and biased, agenda-driven non-coverage, while attacking a rival’s covering a story it should have covered? Did he really suggest that so much was going on that CNN couldn’t have reported the story instead of, say, the daily kitten videos taking up broadcast time on HLN?

  • The story should be tied to the President’s immigration agenda. Sorry if it bolsters Trump’s policies, Brian, but journalists are supposed to report the news, not just the news that leads where they wish it would lead.
  • Of course all roads on Fox lead to media bias. The only excuse for Fox’s existence is media bias of exactly the sort you are exhibiting here!

One more time! “HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!”

  • Oh look, there’s another story that wasn’t covered by CNN or Fox! !!!

 Squirrel!

Have you ever seen a more pathetic effort to dodge an issue by changing the subject? What is Stelter saying here? Is he really arguing that Fox shouldn’t be covering two illegals raping a child when CNN ignored the story  because Fox didn’t cover a completely unrelated crime…that CNN also didn’t cover? Is there a thought running around in Stelter’s skull, or is this just flailing? Is he really arguing that Fox didn’t cover the New York murder because it reflected badly on President Trump? How? Oh, that’s right, Stelter and CNN are card carrying members of the “Trump’s election unleasheed the Forces Of Evil all over America” conspiracy theory. I forgot, but Brian nicely reminded me. See, CNN, the good network, just didn’t cover the story because it judged it not to be national news—which it wasn’t—but FOX didn’t cover it because it involved a white supremacist and racism, and they know that the President has been encouraging white supremacy and racism, because he’s a Nazi.

“HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!”

5. How would the national media have covered the rape if the teens had been legal residents…but Muslims? Any guesses?

49 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President

49 responses to “The Rockville Rape News Coverage

  1. Other Bill

    I first heard of this story reading the Washington Post website to which I subscribe (Lord knows why, I wonder some times). So it was on the front page of their website. I haven’t had to resort to Fox for any coverage. It’s shown up on Real Clear Politics. There was enough information in the Washington Post to be outraged by the incompetence of putting seventeen and eighteen year old guys in a class with fourteen year old ninth grade girls. And I was also completely flummoxed by the superintendent’s almost snarky glibness about how the school boldly educates anyone who shows up on their doorstep. I thought the situation would fit into Jack’s treatment of the insanity of America’s public schools and their faculty and staff.

    Another point that no one seems to bring up in relation to this case: Why are the defense lawyers arguing the fourteen year-old consented when one of the accused is eighteen? Don’t they have a statutory rape provision in Maryland? I guess rape and statutory rape have differing penalties. Just struck me as better not to try the case in the media. Just say, “no comment.”

    • Other Bill

      I wonder what Sparty makes of this story as it probably hits pretty close to home in a number of respects.

    • John Billingsley

      I immediately thought the same thing about the ages. I expect the superintendent’s words are going to come back to bite him on the ass during the civil suit that the girl’s parents should bring against the school board.

  2. Jack,

    In all fairness, other than the whole rape thing, I’m sure these kids were model residents!

  3. Wayne

    My guess is the story would be buried somewhere. CNN and MSNBC wouldn’t want to be accused of being Islamophobic would they?

  4. Spartan

    I don’t understand your nitpicking here Jack. The story mentioned the illegal immigrant status, isn’t that enough? Personally, I am interested in knowing the statistical likelihood of an illegal immigrant committing a violent crime as compared to a legal immigrant and natural born citizens. I think that is deserving of journalistic investigation, but I deplore how both sides of this issue are cherry-picking stories to fit their agenda.

    • Other Bill

      That’s a false equivalency, S. It misses the point. Illegal immigrants shouldn’t be here, so what’s the point of comparing them to people who are here legally?

    • I don’t know why you don’t understand. The local story is the rape. The national story is the fact that the rape resulted from non-enforcement of immigration laws. You took some journalism classes, no? The placement of facts indicates their importance. The headline misleads readers and hides a key element of the story. This is how the news media distorts the news and manipulates public opinion. How can you deny it?

      • Chris

        Should every instance of a person killed with an illegal gun be considered a “national story” about the result of “non-enforcement of gun laws?”

        • Other Bill

          Might not be a bad idea, Chris. Who’s in favor of gun violence? Who’s in favor of not enforcing gun laws? Are gang bangers killing each other with illegally acquired guns members of the NRA? Did they vote for Trump? Are they Republicans? Conservatives interested in the Second Amendment? I doubt it.

          • Chris

            Who’s in favor of not enforcing gun laws?

            Look at what Republicans did to the ATF for your answer.

            • Other Bill

              What did Republicans do to the ATF?

              • Other Bill

                Okay, I googled that question. And lots of stories came up about how the NRA and the Republicans were gutting the ATF and gun laws. But there were other stories critical of the ATF and there were even elements of the stories that suggested perhaps the complaints about ATF and existing and proposed gun laws were defensible. So I don’t think bringing this up is dispositive of much of anything.

                But let’s agree anyone who wants to get a gun can get a gun, particularly if that person is a scofflaw. So what? Does the super availability of guns cause criminals to commit crimes with guns? There are lots of pianos in the world. Do we have a problem with too many people playing piano?

                • Chris

                  But let’s agree anyone who wants to get a gun can get a gun, particularly if that person is a scofflaw. So what? Does the super availability of guns cause criminals to commit crimes with guns? There are lots of pianos in the world. Do we have a problem with too many people playing piano?

                  You’re making my point for me. Does the ease of illegal immigration cause illegal immigrants to rape women? Of course not. So if you agree with Jack that every case of an illegal immigrant raping someone should be a national story about illegal immigration, it seems to follow that every case of someone killed with an illegal gun should be a national illegal gun story.

                  • What? Does the ease of illegal immigration cause illegal immigrants to rape women, as in “make it possible for those illegal immigrants to rape them’? Of course. Why would you bother to argue about that?

                    • Chris

                      That’s not how I took the word “cause,” but I’m not necessarily looking for a “yes” or “no” answer on any specific point here; just consistency. If you think ease of illegal immigration causes illegal immigration to rape women, then you should also think ease of illegal gun purchases causes criminals to shoot people.

        • If the gun is used to commit a crime, whether it is legal or not doesn’t matter. If an illegal gun is used, that does not mean that the crime wouldn’t have occurred. unlike the case of a crime committed by an illegal immigrant, who literally could not commit a crime in the US while in the country he belongs in.

          If an illegal gun is used to prevent a crime, then you would have a valid analogy with an illegal immigrant who prevented a crime. But in both cases, the argument that we shouldn’t enforce the law because one illegal gun/ immigrant did something right would be absurd.

          • Chris

            If the gun is used to commit a crime, whether it is legal or not doesn’t matter. If an illegal gun is used, that does not mean that the crime wouldn’t have occurred. unlike the case of a crime committed by an illegal immigrant, who literally could not commit a crime in the US while in the country he belongs in.

            But that same immigrant could have come in legally and then committed the same crime; there are just more legal obstacles in his way. Just like with illegal guns. You can’t say in either case that the crime wouldn’t have been committed; in both cases, there are legal obstacles preventing such a crime from being committed, and in both cases, partisans from different camps could say those legal obstacles need to be stronger in order to prevent them.

            If an illegal gun is used to prevent a crime, then you would have a valid analogy with an illegal immigrant who prevented a crime. But in both cases, the argument that we shouldn’t enforce the law because one illegal gun/ immigrant did something right would be absurd.

            That wouldn’t be my argument. My argument was that making every story of illegal immigrant crime into a national story about lack of border enforcement makes as much sense as making every story about illegal gun crime into a national story about lack of gun control enforcement. I stand by that comparison.

  5. Spartan

    I have a larger point here which I don’t have time to deal with today. But, to be brief, I completely disagree with the bright line rule that Jack has created related to illegal immigrants. The simple truth is that they are all here for different reasons and should not be all be lumped together as “lawbreakers.” The immigrant who just wants to earn more money here? Well, I empathize of course, but you don’t get to break the law because of it. But that’s a sliding scale of course. Is your family starving to death because of lack of employment, political strife, inflation, etc. in your home country? Is there so much gang violence in your home country (primarily due to the U.S.’s addiction to drugs btw) that your sons have the choice of joining the cartel or being shot? Okay, then now I don’t blame you for coming here, because the issue has become one of human rights. And I do think human rights trump territorial boundaries. I don’t blame Syrians for fleeing their home countries nor would anyone (in hindsight) tell the Jews, Gypsies, and Atheists to try and stay happy in the Third Reich.

    • If someone can qualify for legal refugee status, that’s another legal process.

      Your gang violence argument (I’ll ignore the US drug crack) would basically allow the whole country of Columbia ti move here at will. I see some problems with that.

      Blame is not the issue. I cane be 100% sympathetic with the reasons while someone breaks the law, and still believe that the law cannot be broken without consequences. I wouldn’t blame vigilante survivors of concentration camps who hunted down German war criminals and tortured them to death using a salami slicer. They would still have to be prosecuted for murder.

      • Spartan

        Being sympathetic is one thing, allowing people to survive is another. Borders should be considered arbitrary when millions of people are trying to escape death.

        • “trying to escape death” is an impossibly subjective, vague standard, and I’m sure you know that. You’re admirably devoid of most bleeding heart, sentimental, completely impractical liberal fantasies, and I salute you for that, but “borders should be considered arbitrary when millions of people are trying to escape death” is one of them.

          • Spartan

            I’m sorry — do you think that I am exaggerating? There are 4 million Syrian refugees alone. The level of migration happening right now is the greatest its been since WWII.

            And, for the record, my position doesn’t mean that they get to live in their host countries permanently, but yes, I think letting people survive on a short term basis very much qualifies as “the least we/they can do.”

    • Pennagain

      Small quibble, Spartan: I didn’t go back to check this but I seem to remember from a course in the Holocaust (which included a pretty thorough history of the Nazi party and the Third Reich in general) that atheists were not persecuted as such, but only* as “godless Communists” – the emphasis being on the latter.

      *(not that that made the situation any better, since anyone could be and many “intellectuals” – meaning those who might be able to speak, write or teach successfully against the regime – were rounded up for the work or death camps, along with lesbians and gay men, Catholics, Poles, Serbs, the disabled, Blacks, and, . . .)

      • Spartan

        My list was not intended to be exhaustive, but fair point.

        • Pennagain

          I know. That’s what the refuge of etc. is all about . . . .

          And I am drawn to agreeing with you, while not seeing how it could be managed. That’s been the problem all along.

  6. Spartan

    I’m not sure you understand how the legal refugee process works Jack — it is very complicated and takes a long time to process. Plus, there are no guarantees and gang violence does not qualify. I have a close friend at ICE and another who is a professor who specialize in this. Quite frankly, the application of this law is a mess.

    It is interesting that you think I made a joke about US drug addiction. It is no laughing matter, and our addiction plus disastrous US foreign policy has done extreme harm to South and Central America. We share the blame for the exodus.

    • I called it a crack, not a joke: what I meant was that it is flip. Nobody forces anyone to break the law, or to deal drugs.

      • Spartan

        When the zombies take over Arlington, I’m pretty sure you will keep trying to stay ahead of them, even if that takes you and your family to the Canadian border. So no, they won’t be forcing you to flee, after all, you have the choice of letting them eat your brains instead.

        • +1 for classic Zombie reference…

          Spartan, love ya like the sci-fi geek we both are.

          Disagree on immigration issues.

          • Spartan

            Okay Slick — What’s your favorite TV sci-fi series? (Literature is too hard, so I thought I would narrow the field.)

            • Pennagain

              Not Slick, but I can’t help shouting it out: I’ve been waiting for that question since 1988/ “Max Headroom”

              • Spartan

                For me, it is Babylon 5 with Firefly in second place. I’m pretty sure Firefly would be No. 1 on my list if the network had renewed it and let it mature. Third place goes to the Battlestar Galactica reboot — although the writing went downhill in later seasons.

                My hubby is a huge Max Headroom fan as well.

                • Spartan, currently I am rereading the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. Just started the second book (Queen’s Honor) last night. Weber gets lost in his narrative in the later books, and that makes them hard to keep after (they are also LONG) but there is a fully fleshed Universe there, with support stories and contributions from other authors.

                  LOTR (okay, not Sci-fi) hooked me as a child, and I read The Silmarillion by age 13. Azimov’s Foundation series, a smattering of Bradbury, and detours into Hitchhiker’s Guide, Norton, Star Trek Log series, and so forth moved me into geek status.

                  • Spartan

                    Bradbury started me on this journey. I tried reading LOTR as a kid, but it seemed like girls were not the target audience. I did read them as an adult, but I think this is one of those rare instances where the movies are better. Forever War and Hyperion were some of my early favorites as well. I will check out Weber — is he more long winded than George R.R. Martin? I’ve read that entire series (of course).

                    • LOTR movies (especially the extended versions) are very well done in what they leave out, which focuses them on a narrative that works in film.

                      HH is Space Opera: different elements of narrative coming together during rising action to produce a satisfying (if sometimes unpredictable) climax. (As a comparison, Star Wars A New Hope was intended to be Space Opera… but was too successful to continue to be so.) Weber tells technical detail… for tech we have not invented yet. As an engineer, this is interesting but can get gratuitous in later books. The rules hang together very well (unlike Star Trek, for instance) and innovations are logical within that Universe. No silver bullets: for every plus there is a minus, weapon system have pros and cons depending on the combat situation, and these are explored to develop the plot. Plot we have, indeed we do.

                      Not sure how he compares to GRRM, as I have not read his stuff, nor watched the HBO series. Isn’t it more of a fantasy thing? (Not that I dislike most fantasy, just have not gravitated that way in reading the last decade)

                    • Spartan

                      GRRM is pure fantasy, much like Star Wars. 😉

                      But sci/fi nerds usually like fantasy as well. And Tolkien is pure fantasy so I thought safe wrapping them together.

                    • No, I was not complaining… fantasy is fine, I just have slowed on that genera. 🙂

                      For light fantasy, I have the Xanth series (it is VERY punny). Piers Anthony has some good books outside, including the Apprentice Adept series that combines sci-fi and fantasy as two aspects of the same world.

            • Babylon 5, hands down. Complex character arcs, wonderful humor and irony, real world motivations, and decent (for the era) graphics. Just watched the whole DVD series again last year (it was time)

              The movies are spotty, at best, and Crusade is horrible. The later writing went downhill (especially late season 5) but Severed Dreams (Season 3, episode 10) gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

              Firefly would have been the best, had it survived.

              BSG got hard to watch in later seasons, but as a kid whose imagination was fired from watching the original, I can forgive a lot. Mark VII Vipers are COOL!

              • Spartan

                I think I agree with every word of this comment.

              • Chris

                I love Firefly, as well as everything else by Whedon. I guess I need to watch Babylon 5.

                • Whedon is good, no doubt. B5 is the child of J. Michael Straczynsk (Thor, World War Z) but both are big in the comic book world.

                  Be warned, B5 is complex, and may take a few episodes to hook you (especially if you start with the pilot, which is… immature with regards to the rest of the series.

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