The following headline appeared on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at Fox News: “Virginia sex offender seen snatching 7-month-old from mother in photos released by police.” It all seems pretty straightforward, at least until you read the accompanying article.
The first glaring ommission from the headline, but buried deeper in the article, is the fact that the alleged abductor, Carl Ray Kennedy, is the child’s biological father. Surprise! And even more interesting is the fact that we are told nothing about his custodial rights or lack thereof anywhere in the article. We are simply left to assume that he is the non-custodial parent and perhaps even make the further, unwarranted assumption that sex offenders in general do not deserve custodial rights to their own children.
The next thing that jumps out is the description of the man as a sex offender. A simple Google search reveals that Carl Ray Kennedy has had 32 convictions for a wide variety of crimes since 1985. His crimes include felony possession of cocaine, felony distribution of cocaine, felony conspiracy to sell cocaine, felony assault by strangulation, felony sexual battery, and a ton of related misdemeanors and SO registration violations. So, why doesn’t the headline read, “Convicted cocaine distributor snatches 7-month-old from mother?” Obviously, because sex offender stories sell and because news media corporations are businesses out to make a profit.