There’s an awful, ongoing missing child case in my county and as usual, the media keeps making it even worse.
The little girl hasn’t been seen since 2011. She was thirteen then. She was adopted, and her parents were receiving adoption assistance money. They’re in prison for continuing to accept the money although the girl wasn’t in their home. They assert that she went to live with relatives. Her brother reported her missing in 2013.*
A missing child is bad enough, and the bizarre convoluted circumstances of this case and the length of time she’s been missing make it more upsetting to people who never even knew her. A local news channel tweeted this afternoon that the people who now own the house where the girl lived found bones on the property while removing an old tree. The tweet was accompanied by a photo of the missing girl. An hour later, the station tweeted that the bones were those of a small animal.
But for that hour, how many people thought that the girl’s body had been found? How many friends and relatives? Couldn’t the news have waited to see if the bones were human? That would have been worth reporting. But all they did was mentally and emotionally torture a lot of people for ratings.
I was shocked by the first tweet, but I didn’t RT it precisely because of what happened.
Social media is riddled with lazy journalists and people who can’t even be called journalists and they cause enough problems. We all can help by not spreading speculation, and by calling out garbage reporting of this nature when we see it.