There's an old saying in journalism: If your mother says she loves you, check it out.
It's a facetious way of saying: Trust no one, verify everything.
Yet some of the biggest, most respected media outlets in the country failed to perform their due diligence when it came to the Schapiro study's ridiculous claims about a nationwide child trafficking epidemic.
In an era defined by fast-paced blogging and doing more with less, reporters have precious little time to document the information they're regurgitating. This leaves readers vulnerable to pseudoscience and quackery.
The following is an alphabetical list of news organizations that repeated the Schapiro study's erroneous claims:
- CNN, Online sex ads complicate crackdowns on teen trafficking, September 14, 2010
- Dallas Morning News, Sex trafficking of young girls could soar, January 20, 2011
- Detroit Free Press, Sex sites on the web exploit nearly 160 Michigan girls monthly, experts say, January 26, 2011
- Detroit Free Press, Advocates work for tougher laws, November 7, 2010
- Fort Worth Examiner, Sex trafficking, Texas children bought and sold online, January 25, 2011
- Grand Rapids Press, Human trafficking, exploitation on the rise in Michigan, September 6, 2010
- Houston Chronicle, Faith groups tackle sex trade surrounding Super Bowl, February 2, 2011
- Miami Herald, Girls trapped in modern-day slave trade, January 30, 2011
- Minneapolis Star Tribune, Teen prostitutes get new status, February 26, 2011; Sexually exploited kids are victims, March 6, 2011
- Minnesota Public Radio, Sex trafficking on the rise in Minnesota, March 8, 2011
- MsMagazine.com, Jailing girls for men's crimes, December 8, 2010
- Pegasus News, Dallas is hotspot for exploitation of adolescent girls, January 28, 2011
- St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota's child sex profile rising, September 8, 2010
- USA Today, New efforts target child sex trafficking; more groups and activists band together, September 30, 2010
- WFAA, Study counts sexually exploited girls in Texas, January 19, 2011
Feature story: Women's Funding Network sex trafficking study is junk science
Super Bowling for Dollars: The great American game is another chance to foist false research on a gullible media