Brent Bozell
Five years ago, Pope Benedict arrived in London to erupting controversy. Around 10,000 people took to the capital's streets for a rally against the Holy Father's "intolerance," and as the Guardian reported, against "the child abuse scandal for which so many hold the pontiff personally responsible, for both accelerating it and then covering it up."

The abuse in question centered for the most part on incidents that were 40 years old or more.

Nevertheless, CBS reporter Mark Phillips described the trip as "A test of whether Pope Benedict can get his message across over the background noise of the Church's child abuse scandal. And that test gets harder as time goes on."

The media were pledging to never let up with the noisemaking.

Today the United Kingdom is ablaze with the official discovery that in the northern English town of Rotherham, at least 1,400 children, some as young as 11, were groomed for sexual exploitation and rape (even gang rape) while the authorities looked the other way -- from 1997 to 2013. The abusers were Pakistanis.

Some would ask (correctly): Where were the police? We would ask: Where are these child-defending networks now?

"The vast majority of perpetrators have been identified as South Asian and most victims were young white girls, adding to the complexity of the case," reported The New York Times. "Some officials appeared to believe that social workers pointing to a pattern of sexual exploitation were exaggerating, while others reportedly worried about being accused of racism if they spoke out."

In America, the same TV networks over the last dozen years have filed hundreds of noise-making stories slamming decades-old allegations of child abuse in the Catholic Church -- suddenly they can't find this story with two hands. There's been nothing on ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS. A Nexis search can't even find any transcripts mentioning the story on CNN or MSNBC, and just one on Fox News. USA Today hasn't found it, and The Washington Post only placed a story online, not in the paper.

Do they only care to report on England's royal children? Do no one else's matter?

The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times discovered the story briefly on August 27, and NPR aired two reports, on August 26 and 27. The New York Times then put it on the front page on September 2. But none of these stories made any mention of Muslims or Islam. These child abusers were not clerics, but their religious heritage was as politically touchy as their ethnicity.

Take the Catholic Church out of it, and child sex scandals aren't particularly scandalous in the eyes of the press.


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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