MEDIA BIAS IN OHIO CRIME STORY

Catalyst April Issue 1998

It happens all the time. Someone who commits a crime and attends a Catholic school has his religion gratuitously cited. Only this time, the reference was more than unnecessary, it was inaccurate.

Audrey Iacona is a 17 year-old Ohio girl convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her newborn baby boy. While she formerly attended Holy Name High School near Cleveland, the school she was enrolled in at the time of her trial was a public school, Highland High. Yet it was her Catholic school affiliation that the media flagged.

The Associated Press carried the story nationwide stating that Iacona was “a former student at Holy Name High School near Cleveland”; it never cited her current status at Highland. Similarly, WTAM radio in Cleveland reported that the girl was a product of a “Catholic high school.” Worst of all was the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which not only never mentioned Iacona’s attendance at a public school, but actually opened its story with “Catholic schoolgirl Audrey Iacona….”

The league wrote to all three media sources explaining its concerns. So far, we are relatively pleased with what we’ve heard.


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Written by Bill