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Natalee Holloway, Lori Hacking, Laci Peterson. The list goes on and on and on.

When pretty, young women -- especially white ones -- are killed or disappear, media storms often follow. There is no polite way to say it, and it is a fact of television news. Media and social critics call the wall-to-wall coverage that seems to swirl around these events, "Missing White Woman Syndrome."

That was the phrase invoked by Sheri Parks, a professor of American studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, during our interview yesterday. The phenomenon is characterized by critics as a short and cynical equation: Pretty, white damsels in distress draw viewers; missing women who are black, Latino, Asian, old, fat, or ugly do not.

I think the critics are a lot right. And I think they are a little wrong.

People in the news business, in my professional experience of nearly 30 years, are like people in every profession. They wrestle with questions of right and wrong, fairness and accuracy, perception and reality. Some are good at it. Some aren't.

I've never, not even once, seen a story spiked because the victim was not attractive enough or the wrong race. But I've seen plenty of stories fall by the wayside, pushed down and out of the show, because a consensus develops that says, "You know, I don't think our viewers are very interested in this case."

Is that racism or realism? We can't cover every murder, but ignoring them all or reporting just statistics seems irresponsible. So how should we decide whose life or loss is covered?



http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/
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quote:
Originally posted by memyselfni:
I've never, not even once, seen a story spiked because the victim was not attractive enough or the wrong race. But I've seen plenty of stories fall by the wayside, pushed down and out of the show, because a consensus develops that says, "You know, I don't think our viewers are very interested in this case."


I can see that, in a way.

I think subconsciously perk up a little more when I see segments that involve certain people.

I say this because I know I would have been affected by the Katrina coverage regardless of the racial make-up of the affected areas, but seeing people who looked and sounded so familiar
changed the story a bit for me. It was like I was watching people I knew drowning.

Low- to middle-class urban minorities especially are extremely relatable to me because I look at those people and can see me, my family, or friends in their faces.

Pershaps people working in the media perk up more for the Petersons because they see can see themselves, family, or friends in their faces more.

They probably think that no one would be very interested in the case of a Vang, a Williams, or a Garcia because those cases haven't spurred as much emotion in themselves and hasn't caused much hoopla in the newsroom.

But that's a piss-poor excuse not to cover those stories.

The newsrooms don't have enough Vangs, Williams, or Garcias to be representative of their viewing public and a large portion of their viewing public are sick and tired of their invisibility.

That's what I want our reporters should keep in mind when picking and choosing their stories.

Understand the cause, but shut the hell up with all of the excuses and fix the damn the outcome.
quote:
Originally posted by ma'am:
quote:
Originally posted by memyselfni:
I've never, not even once, seen a story spiked because the victim was not attractive enough or the wrong race. But I've seen plenty of stories fall by the wayside, pushed down and out of the show, because a consensus develops that says, "You know, I don't think our viewers are very interested in this case."


They probably think that no one would be very interested in the case of a Vang, a Williams, or a Garcia because those cases haven't spurred as much emotion in themselves and hasn't caused much hoopla in the newsroom.

But that's a piss-poor excuse not to cover those stories.

The newsrooms don't have enough Vangs, Williams, or Garcias to be representative of their viewing public and a large portion of their viewing public are sick and tired of their invisibility.

That's what I want our reporters should keep in mind when picking and choosing their stories.

Understand the cause, but shut the hell up with all of the excuses and fix the damn the outcome.


tfro

I wonder if that's the same damn excuse they use for not adequately covering objections to the Iraq War? Lack of viewer interest?

These people are going to have to decide if they're entertainers out to get ratings or professionals whose job it is to keep us informed of the facts... And it's a fact that not every woman who is abducted is white...
In regards to this I totally agree...for example Natalie Halloway...the teenage girl that got lost down in Aruba on her senior class trip(what kinda ish is that...)...while its tragic and all...that girl had been missing for 6 months(she's still missing I think) and she was still getting major airtime! A black girl go missing in San Francisco it will get mentioned once...maybe for an entire week but after that its a wrap...no update...nothing! Its irritating...
When a group of people think they're "superior" they can't believe when something terrible happens to them or one of theirs. Men of today are no joke. What this should teach all women is to go out in groups and take care of each other. What good is a chaperone if he/she falls down on the job. That's who Natalie's mother should be furious with. It seems to me, that men all over the world, have turned into major WMD's. I think before one "falls in love", they'd better do a "background" check, probably after even saying "hello".

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