Oh Georgia … we don’t know what’s going on lately, but can we just stop?
The state has found itself as the focus of public scorn yet again. First we had the “heartbeat bill” that would require doctors to perform procedures that literally don’t exist in reality and could punish women for a decade over a miscarriage.
Then we had lawmakers who refused to hire qualified black candidates because “the town isn’t ready” for black people? Oh, and as a follow-up, they mentioned that interracial marriage wasn’t “how Christians should live.”
Now we’ve got murder where the victims are, like, super inconvenient for the neighbors.
We have an incredibly long list of concerns, Georgia.
WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News is currently getting roasted to oblivion for the way they framed a story about sex workers. The story itself was focused on the residents of the community feeling unsafe because they felt prostitution was rampant and nothing was being done, regardless of their complaints to authorities. But… like… nobody seems too concerned with all the murder?
Residents wanting to feel like authorities are listening to them is a totally valid news story.
But did the social media header need to be worded like this?
Two prostitutes have been murdered in the same community – and neighbors are fed up. They say the prostitution still runs rampant and despite years of complaints, nothing’s been done. TODAY AT 5: What we found when we set up undercover cameras. https://t.co/A9jTwx0kAt pic.twitter.com/arsQFD8B3i
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 8, 2019
Two women have been murdered and the problem is the women, not the murderers? Who approved that header? Take a moment to really process what you’re reading:
“Two prostitutes have been murdered in the same community – and neighbors are fed up.”
Okay … most of us would be fed up if people were being murdered in our area.
“They say the prostitution still runs rampant…”
Wait… WHAT?! There are murders happening and the victims are what people are fed up about? We highly doubt that’s what anyone interviewed actually meant — but here it is in the header.
If we were to replace “prostitutes” with pretty much any other identifier, this would sound atrocious. Because it is!
“Two bakers have been murdered in the same community – and neighbors are fed up. They say baking still runs rampant…”
“Two children have been murdered in the same community – and neighbors are fed up. They say childhood still runs rampant…”
“Two puppies have been murdered in the same community – and neighbors are fed up. They say dogs still runs rampant…”
“Two Muslims have been murdered in the same community – and neighbors are fed up. They say Islam still runs rampant…”
Pro tip for anyone who apparently needs it: When people are getting killed, the problem is the killer. 100% of the time, all the time. Murder victims are not the issue. Murderers are.
Twitter had absolutely no problem pointing out that this phrasing, this header, and this mindset were all trash.
Two women have been murdered and the focus of your headline is how inconvenient it is for the neighbors? That's reprehensible.
— SusanMcC (@Sudonk) May 8, 2019
Um, do you think “prostitution” means “murder-wanter” because it seems you are not sure what the big problem is here https://t.co/io3TFTaDXP
— Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) May 9, 2019
i would investigate whoever wrote this story for the murders
— did you hear about tottenham (@rockiesVSconnor) May 8, 2019
This honestly makes it sound like the neighbors did it, and are upset it hasn’t driven off the other prostitutes
— john stuart thrill (@l_powell) May 9, 2019
my personal opinion is that the MURDERING is the real problem here. i probably would have focused on the MURDERS instead of the sex work. but that’s just my opinion. i’m very much anti-MURDER. that’s just me tho, not a fan of MURDERERS
— 💰TRILLIONAIRE 💰 (@maltyhops) May 8, 2019
It seems like one thing has been done for sure, at least twice
— Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) May 9, 2019
That's the focus of the article too. No concerns about the murders at all..
— mishanti2 (@mishanti2) May 9, 2019
People even tried their hand at re-framing other murders:
“Green River Killer highlights water rights issues”
— Jennifer Goodland (@BigYearColo) May 8, 2019
“Charles Manson opens up opportunities for ingenues and hairdressers.”
— Larry Zwicke (@Larry_Zwicke) May 9, 2019
'Jeffrey Dahmer comes up with innovative solution to food crises'
— 🇻🇨Vincy 🇻🇨 2 Di Bone (@vincy2dibone) May 9, 2019
The news outlet, rather than deleting the tweet, offered an equally terrible explanation. The article wasn’t really about the murders (we noticed); they were simply mentioned to illustrate that the problems weren’t new!
We want to be more clear & offer more context to our story. Today’s report focused on neighbors’ frustrations over prostitution, violence & the lack of help to fix it. The murders happened a while ago & were mentioned to demonstrate these issues aren't new https://t.co/f5zFvyt57g
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 9, 2019
Guys… it didn’t go over well.
"don't worry, the two murdered human beings we used as cheap props in our story about how yucky people like them are weren't killed RECENTLY, that would be crass"
— Red Durkin (@RedIsDead) May 9, 2019
Oh, it was "context" you were missing… If by "context" you meant "basic humanity and empathy", then yes, I agree.
— Dean Hernandez (@deanchernandez) May 9, 2019
Thanks for this clarification, now I'll just take and apply this additional knowledge as I re-read the original headline and…
Nope, still shit.
— ALEX the Questions Around Here (@CannotFitMyName) May 9, 2019
Wow. Y'all really double-downed on that incredibly bad take …. totally deserving of allllllll this criticism. pic.twitter.com/NS5NhxTvpj
— Geneva Smith (@GenevaSmith) May 9, 2019
Didnt think you could possibly make it worse but here we are.
— Paul Teta (@paulteta) May 9, 2019
This is still not an acceptable way to talk about the murders of two human beings. The deaths of #sexworkers are not window dressing to spice up your story about small minded moral panic. They are evidence of our failure to protect & respect rights of vulnerable people.
— Aurora Labelle (@Comtesse_Aurora) May 9, 2019
Don’t worry, the murders were a BIG issue at the time, but that was like 30 ‘a while agos’ by now or something.
— JDW (@QuickTwitsch) May 9, 2019
The only “context” is that neighbors are more annoyed by prostitution than they are concerned that women are being murdered. And that you think that’s … fine?
— Rachael Larimore (@RachaelBL) May 9, 2019
Not better. "We cynically used the murders to promote our story about why sex workers are bad neighbors"
— David Streever (@StreeverWrites) May 9, 2019
I was so confused. Two women died and the story is about the neighbors frustrations. Yikes.
— Anré Dárel Washington (@AnreDarel) May 9, 2019
As of yet, the outlet shows no signs of retracting, apologizing or adjusting their stance on the issue. Twitter, thankfully, shows no signs of letting up on them. No word from the neighbors as to whether or not they actually meant that murders were inconvenient. It’s possible that their intention was to discuss lack of support from local law enforcement and the news outlet ran with the “inconvenient dead women” angle.
Either way, one more time for the people in the back, when people are murdered — the murderers are the problem, not the victims!