An Open Letter To The Media

I read the articles you wrote about an elementary school student who returned to school as a different gender than before.

KOKH FOX25 and KSDK News Channel 5, I write to you.

As a parent, I need to understand the reason for your blatant disregard of privacy and negligent concern of the results.  So I have to ask:

Was this a newsworthy topic? Did the public need to be informed? Was it for the greater good?

Or . .

Did you  just take a situation that was handled excellently and within best interest of the child and make it open to public ridicule and debate, just to keep a hot topic posted on your news feed?

I’m appalled (though not surprised) that you so easily created a public debate among the entire state (KOKH). You know this is Oklahoma. You wanted a rise.

You made light of  a child’s diversity, struggle and health, and then passed it off as news because you knew it would get a response!

Maybe it is acceptable for you to do such a thing to your own children, but you should stand behind the children of this nation and this state, and acknowledge their vulnerability and their right to dignity as you are supposed to do!

You represent the people. You represent the state. You lead the crowd.

You blurred the lines of the law for profit.

Shame on you.

These articles could have been presented a different way. You could have not named the school. You could have not named the child’s real first name or new name! You could have written an article that was a general inquisition about how Gender Identity Disorder impacts children. Then, you could have posed the question to readers about how they think it may/may not impact the students. You could have refrained from indirectly exposing her medical diagnosis.

But you didn’t.

What you did do was negligently overlook a child’s rights, feelings and psychological development. All for the purpose of stirring the pot, raising the ratings and keeping at the top!

The media is supposed to push boundaries. The media also has boundaries, especially when it comes to children!

Did you ask this child if you could share her story? Did the family consent to this exposure by you? Why have we not heard from them? Oh, wait! That’s because they took proper steps and were advised by medical professionals. They took every possible step they could to help guide their young child through this  very difficult transition and to help her feel comfortable at school.

Here’s what you were supposed to do.

“Journalistic activity which touches on the lives and welfare of children should always be carried out with appreciation of the vulnerable situation of children. Journalists and media organisations shall strive to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct in reporting children’s affairs and, in particular, they shall:

  • Strive for standards of excellence in terms of accuracy and sensitivity when reporting on issues involving children. (Was this sensitive to you? Did you keep her in mind as you displayed her school, and new name as if maybe a plethora of children did this, so maybe no one will know it’s her?!)
  • Avoid programming and publication of images which intrude upon the media space of children with information which is damaging to them (Like if this child were to go view your article and all that the world has to say about her and her parents?!)
  • Avoid the use of stereotypes and sensational presentation to promote journalistic material involving children (like your article).
  • Consider carefully the consequences of publication of any material concerning children and shall minimise harm to children (like public humiliation and bullying).
  • Guard against visually or otherwise identifying children unless it is demonstrably in the public interest; (Yet passively you did!)
  • Give children, where possible, the right of access to media to express their own opinions without inducement of any kind. (Where was this child you chose to exploit? Did she have a voice?)”

Perhaps, you should read over The Media & Child’s Rights via  UNICEF.

This was negligence by choice.

A sad portrayal of the damage the media can do when it seeks ratings and money, instead of remembering that they are the voice of the people! 

Every single action was taken to make sure this was a smooth transition and that her emotional and mental well-being were kept in mind. All that you did was name names, identify the school, and expose an already vulnerable child to public ridicule, humiliation, bullying and debate.

Yet, you believe that it was okay because you danced around the rules?

What if this was your child? How would you feel as you sat back feeling like you had to protect your son or daughter from his/her classmates, but then end up defending your child to the adults of the town and the general public, the internet and local grocery stores, and the  PTA?

Adults need to be talking about the hard topics and controversial issues, 
BUT IT SHOULD NOT AND WILL NOT BE AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR CHILDREN!

One thought on “An Open Letter To The Media

  1. Pingback: An Open Letter to #TeamBossyGals | Uncommon Graces

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