A Reader Notes A Difference Between U.S. And U.K. Reporting
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Two views of the same story: The January 8 London Times reported on a spate of armed robberies in England and Wales. Some of the violence is horrifying: a 19 year old girl was shot in the head even though she'd surrendered, a 10 year old was robbed at gunpoint of a mobile phone and twenty-five pounds.

The headline in the Times was:

Black gangs prowl for mobiles
By Richard Ford, Home Correspondent

MOBILE phone thefts surged last year as black teenagers targeted white boys under 15, a Home Office report will disclose today. Many victims are too busy talking or text messaging to notice the danger from gangs of youths prowling cities in the afternoons looking for phones to steal.

The report estimates that 710,000 phones were stolen last year — almost double the number recorded by the police — and one survey suggests that more than half a million of those were taken from children aged between 11 and 15.

Later you read:

The vast majority of victims in all six areas where white, with Asians the next most often targeted. Only a small proportion of victims were black.

In all, I counted seven uses of the word black, three uses of the word white, plus the above reference to "Asians." Clearly, not only has England's Home Office identified the criminals and the victims, but The Times printed it.

Next day, the Washington Post reported the exactly same story. But no one in the story is identified by race at all. Apparently, there's no one in Britain but the British, and guess what the UK imported that it shouldn't have? - those nasty American guns!

Mobile Phone Shootings Shock Britain 

By Ed Johnson
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, January 9, 2002; 1:49 AM

LONDON –– In a country where most police are armed with little more than batons and the closest many people get to crime is a TV drama, criminals with guns have been seen as the kind of problem that afflicts other nations.

But a surge of murders, robberies and assaults involving guns in London, including the mugging of a teen-age girl who was shot in the head for a mobile phone, has shaken Britain's traditional attitude that guns are other peoples' problems.

(full story)

January 10, 2002

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