In the media, alleged human trafficking is more interesting than human trafficking charges

April 9, 2021

By Stephanie H. Freedman

Headlines have been covered for the last couple of weeks with allegations against Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz regarding a Justice Department inquiry into an alleged human trafficking incident

The Business Insider titles the inquiry as “Gaetzgate”, while CBS salaciously titled an article as “Matt Gaetz trip to Bahamas is part of federal probe into sex trafficking probe”. CNBC speculated that “Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg is expected to strike plea deal in sex-trafficking case”. CNN penned a piece on the inquiry titled, “‘He really jumped on the Trump train’: How a brash Matt Gaetz climbed the ranks in Trump’s Washington.” 

This ongoing press coverage about the allegations has far overshadowed the new charges being added against accused sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, last week.

CNBC quietly penned a short piece stating, “Jeffrey Epstein’s friend faces new charges”. BBC vaguely titled an article “Ghislaine Maxwell: A fourth victim adds charges to case”. The media haphazardly covered the new break in the case and the coverage there was on the charges barely made it through the typical 24-hour news cycle. 

The Epstein-Maxwell case is over a decade in the making, with over 50 victims as young as 11 years old. The duo boasted a very famous social network spanning from the Clintons, to British royalty, to Trump. 60 Minutes called this case a potential key to an international trafficking ring

However, the media barely covered the break in the case, didn’t make any connections with Maxwell to her famous friends, or continued the coverage of the case past the day of the new charge. The unsubstantiated inquiry against Gaetz is dominating the news coverage on the humans trafficking topic instead. 


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