Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Lagniappe: Media and Missing Persons Coverage - Lately, there have been some to-do's about the Media's preference in its Missing Persons coverage for focusing almost exclusively on white females. I began to think about this and came up with a simple experiment. Try it on yourself and begin with this question.

If you identified off the top of your head all of the missing persons stories picked up by either local or national media that stick in your mind, who would they be?
Feel free to answer in the comments section before reading further, lest you be biased by reading my personal answer to the question.

Now ...

For my part, I can remember clearly Jon Benet Ramsey, Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy, the Runaway Bride, Natalee Holloway, the little girl that was found in California with that strange religious fanatic, the little girl up north recently discovered with a sexual predator, a girl in Florida that went missing under the noses of Social Services, and ... I can't remember any more.

Of these cases, only one involved a missing minority, and all were female.

Even though I'm sure I'm missing some people here, I must admit that it does seem very unidimensional. Without attributing any sinister motives or intentions to anybody, it does seem like there is a pattern in the media coverage of missing persons that prefers white females.

Maybe it's a "so what" thing; but it does give pause.

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