1. The U.S. Is Killing Its Young
Sources: DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Date: 9/25/93, Title: "U.N. Says
U.S. Dangerous for Children," Author: Gayle Reaves; USA TODAY,
Date: 6/16/93, Title: "Report: 12M kids go hungry in USA,"
SYNOPSIS: While politicians and the media play their adult games,
the United States has become one of the most dangerous places in the
world for young people -- and it is getting worse.
An alarming report issued in mid-September by the United Nations Children's
Fund should have been a lead item on the network evening news programs,
but wasn't. In fact, according to the Tyndall Report, which monitors
the evening network news programs, the report did not even make the
top ten list of news subjects on the networks during the period from
September 13 to October 1, 1993.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund:
* Nine out of ten young people murdered in industrialized countries
are slain in the United States.
* The U.S. homicide rate for young people ages 15 to 24 is five times
greater than that of Canada, its nearest competitor.
* The U.S. poverty rate for children is more than double that of
any other major industrialized nation.
* Over the past 20 years, while other industrialized nations were
bringing children out of poverty, only the United States and Britain
An earlier report by researchers at Tufts University revealed that
nearly 12 million children are going hungry in the United States now.
The plight of our children does not appear to be a function of our
recent declining economy but rather one of mis-guided priorities. The
economic problems that have affected the United States in the last decade
have affected much of the rest of the world too. Other countries have
used taxes and other government policies to help address the situation;
this has not happened in the United States.
Arloc Sherman, a Children's Fund research analyst, noted that children
have been hurt by failing economies throughout the world. "What
really distinguishes the United States from all these countries is that
we started off with less generous benefits, and as we went through the
1980s other nations got more generous," Sherman says, but "we
got even less generous."
Journalist Gayle Reaves, who reported on the findings by the Children's
Fund, noted, "Unlike every other industrialized nation, the United
States has not signed or ratified the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, a set of principles adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1989."
Now that the United States is one of the most dangerous places in the
world for young people to live, it would seem that the time has come
for the mass media to alert the public to this growing tragedy.
SSU Censored Researcher: Mark Papadopoulos
COMMENTS: An alarming report by the United Nations Children's
Fund, released in late September 1993, should have been widely publicized
in the mass media. It was a strident warning to the American people
that our young people were in mortal danger for their lives. It also
revealed how out of step we were with the rest of the industrialized
world in the way we treat our youth. And yet, this alarming story was
not put on the national agenda by the mass media.
Gayle Reaves, a reporter with the Dallas Morning News, recognized how
important the issue was and her story was published on the front page
of the Dallas Morning News. But that was an exception. Reaves felt it
was important to tell the story since "It probably would benefit
the public to understand that the rest of the world does not have the
problems with societal, peacetime violence that the United States has.
It is important for people to know that we are not the norm, by far."
Ironically, a series of events in late 1993 forced the mass media to
put the issue on the national agenda.
In Northern California, Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old girl from Petaluma,
was kidnapped and later found murdered; in St. Louis, Missouri, two
young girls, Angle Housman, 9, and Cassidy Senter, 10, were abducted
at separate times and both found murdered; and in Southern California,
the search for a serial child molester, tied to 32 attacks in the suburban
San Fernando Valley, continued.
Tragically, America's young people tried to tell the story which the
mass media had ignored. The Children's Express, a news program produced
by and for young people, held a two-day conference on violence against
youth in Washington, DC, in late October.
George Zitnay, president of the National Head Injury Foundation- in
Washington, told a panel of Children's Express reporters, aged from
10 to 14, that "In the nation's capital, it is not uncommon for
children to attend two or three funerals a week for friends who have
been shot. This is a national epidemic."
Even though it is a national epidemic, it took the senseless deaths
of Polly Klaas, Angie Housman, and Cassidy Senter, before the news media
focused national attention on this tragic problem.