Crimes against women buried in reporting of world news

So here is post #5 picking on the New York Times for its sexist reporting of the rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey.

Nicolas Kristof’s column made me think of the excellent book that he wrote with his wife, Sheryl Wudunn, Half the Sky. The thesis of that book is that “in the 19th century, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.”

So obviously and sadly, Kristof and Wudunn are two of the few to recognize that stopping violence against women needs to be the highest priority.

But here is what I was thinking of specifically: Wudunn and Kristof are Pulitzer prize winning journalists, and they wrote Half the Sky because they were shocked by how stories about men were consistently on the front page while stories about women were invisible:

A similar pattern emerged in other countries. In India, a “bride burning” takes place approximately once every two hours, to punish a woman for an inadequate dowry or to eliminate her so a man can remarry — but these rarely constitute news. When a prominent dissident was arrested in China, we would write a front-page article; when 100,000 girls were kidnapped and trafficked into brothels, we didn’t even consider it news.

And by the way, they are talking about front page news in the American publications that they worked for.

Refusing to print Jyoti Singh Pandey’s name is another way to keep her invisible.

I’ve got to ask, one more time: Why is it acceptable for the New York Times to follow India law in how it reports the facts about crimes against women?

Please read “The ‘Shame’ of Rape” a piece I wrote for Salon about the U.S. media’s sexist coverage of crimes against women.

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