Another The heartbreaking facts about 500 Missing Kids in DC in 2017 — Sex Trafficking Fears Have Officials Asking FBI for Help for the #MissingDCGirls!

Media of today greatly influences public awareness. Ideally, it initiates and shapes opinion and results in strengthening our society. The term media is born of the word medium, signifying mode or carrier. Media, a means of broadly disseminating information has evolved from the edicts of Kings and mass medieval gatherings to, firstly, where the term was applied -- books and newspapers. The evolution from radio to television and now, the internet has by comparison been fast and the growth and reach of its influence profound. Media has been the sword arm of democracy. Media acts as the sentry to protect Public Interest against misconduct, negligence, carelessness, and outright villainy by creating awareness and imparting truths of which we were unaware. But what good service is the media providing the public with headlines like Anonews' online article "500 Kids Have Gone Missing in DC in 2017 — Sex Trafficking Fears Have Officials Asking FBI for Help"? This headline is wildly alarming especially if when all it takes is a small degree of review to discover the article it introduces is a jumble of facts lacking full context and insinuations without basis. Headlines and posts such as this set off a wave of fear and panic that washes over, not just, D.C. but across the U.S. People jump to express themselves, and that message turns viral -- #missingDCgirls, #FindOurGirls. Parents mount rallies, attend town hall meetings and immediately place blame on local government, the Police force, and the media.

With the reach that any one article can have as it is picked up by other publications, linked to other websites and, of course, shared by readers is immense. Until quite recently, most of my adult life, when receiving/hearing "news" I took headlines verbatim just as I did the content that followed them, however, after being retained to write myself I was called to take a deeper, wider look at the subjects assigned to me. What I have discovered, most especially online, is a shocking amount of misrepresentation, half-truths, omissions, and manipulation (via the disconnect between what a headline conveys and what the article following it contains). Our media, or the attention it receives, drives revenues and, unfortunately, it appears that greed is augmenting the truth. The average enrollment of an American middle school is 595. The idea of nearly an entire school population going missing over roughly 120 days is very alarming. But the truth is these numbers are not new and, additionally, as represented, they are not entirely truthful. The Instagram posted on March 23rd that sparked #missingdcgirls, and numerous news articles claimed that 14 black girls went missing within a 24 hour period. The article was, in actuality, fake news. The D.C. Police have confirmed that of the 501 missing children only 28 were unsolved cases as of March 22nd. Unquestionably, there is something very wrong but is the problem the one being touted? The focus of black parents, the black caucus, black activists, and celebrities has been on the failure of the police and media to bring attention to missing children cases. But missing, runaway, truant, pregnant and exploited children occur in the highest numbers in the lower socioeconomic portion of the black population and this is not news. Why is the idea of some vastly dangerous and new threat spreading like wildfire? And why are they not asking the most important question? Why is it that these kids went missing in the first place?

The "why”, firstly, begins with the issue of a lack of accountability and, secondly, it's bi-product has created a circumstance that carries an immense degree of anger and shame. If the black community could not blame the Police or the media, then other questions would have to be asked, and then the gruesome truth may be revealed. The unspoken would have to be said and, I believe, the fear is diminishing the opinion of the African-American culture as a whole. And so, the entirety of the black American populace, that is well aware of the aggressive tumor that has grown and devoured the stability of countless black families, stays tight-lipped instead of tackling it as the enormous public health and child welfare issue that it is.

So? What is it?

For generations, the great failing within the African American populace has been that far, far too many black men who father children have not been present or accountable fathers. They have not been husbands or partners to their children's mothers, and it has resulted in an epidemic of households headed by single, black, females who are angry, who are downtrodden and degraded and these women abuse their children. It’s easier rally around the idea that a massive child trafficking ring has taken up residence in D.C. than for them to face the truth of why black kids are running away from their mothers' homes in unthinkable number. For anyone genuinely interested in a more accurate look at this situation, there are a number of non-profits working in the D.C. area such as BOND which is making an effort to combat this issue head on.

I hope this helps correct what I view as a massive failing in the media to accurately review the facts and instead accuse D.C. Police of lethargy while the public feeds on the frenzy of fake news and click-bait.

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