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Is there gender and racial profiling in missing persons coverage?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8667821/

Missing American girls are often the lead story: The networks and the cable news channels can't seem to get enough of Laci, of Chandra, of Lori, of Jennifer, of Elizabeth, of Natalee.

Their disappearances have brought heartbreak and anguish to their families. But if all you did was watch the TV news in this country, you might think that these are the only people who are missing

But in a country of almost 300 million, many other Americans are missing too.
...
why is it that we in the news media, seem to focus so much on stories that involve victims who are young, attractive, female, and white?

-------------------
There is more to the article. So why is there such a focus on "victims who are young, attractive, female, and white?" There have been several threads here discussing these missing people.
post #2 of 21
good question..one i do not have an answer to.
post #3 of 21
I hope the public doesn't care which race a missing person is, but I think it's obvious that the news coverage is more apt to cover missing white females than people of colour. It shouldn't matter what race or sex a missing person is, in my opinion.
post #4 of 21
Definitely makes the news more. I remember when the Aruba incident was first reported on the radio I turned to my husband and said she's probably a young, white middle-class girl.
post #5 of 21
It is hard to say. The news focuses so specifically on them, especially if they are white women, preferably blond! At the same time Laci went missing, a pregnant mexican woman was missing. I never heard what happened to her!

I think they overdo the coverage on these missing person stories, almost like gleeful vultures that are glad to have a juicy story.

I think to a certain extent the public is more interested in people they can identify with. So a child the age of my child, or someone who looks like my sister is very interesting to me. A recent murder in Chicago of a nursing student who had several children was interesting to me . She was a black woman who was close to my age.

Someday the news executives will wise up, and offer a greater variety of stories about a greater variety of people, and will find that their audiences are much more interested!

I'll vote "No", and hope that it is true!
post #6 of 21
I saw that special on tv last night, too, Bumpy There is absolutely a bias in the media regarding which missing persons stories make the news. It's absolutely horrible for the hundreds of other missing people whose cases do not get the same attention
post #7 of 21
If I remember correctly, they do focus more on blonde, middle class females according to a book I read, Biased.

And I do notice it more - around the same time Elizabeth Smart disappeared, a young black girl disappeared in Chicago - I don't even know what happened to her because it wasn't reported!!!

Jennifer? Are you referring to Jennifer Wilbanks? Ugh, she really hurt the system and what they did for her when she just could have called the wedding off.

I just wish they would give everyone equal consideration when they go missing - put everyone on the news. Maybe even have a whole channel devoted to missing people - the more coverage they have of every single person, the more possibility they get of being found. Remember Precious Doe (Erica Green) and how long it took for her to get identified. Did the public even pay attention to any girls that may have gone missing around that time?
post #8 of 21
I have found missing persons coverage largely depends on how much MONEY the people have? Has anyone else noticed this?
post #9 of 21
the media is biased. i dont think watchers are..but those who cover the news. go where the "juicy" story is
post #10 of 21
The comic strip "Prickly City" covered the topic this week and it really hit the nail on the head. Prickly City
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrissyKitty
I have found missing persons coverage largely depends on how much MONEY the people have? Has anyone else noticed this?
Yep! Before seeing your post, I was going to say..
You forgot to mention rich. That seems to matter more than anything.
post #12 of 21
Yeah, and that Jennifer Wilbanks mentally challenged person had a family FULL of money...
post #13 of 21
Just tonight on America's Most Wanted they featured a young, black pregnant woman named LaToyia Figueroa missing from Philly. Afterwards there was a segment on the local news about her as well.

Although, sadly, I agree that most of the missing persons covered are young, wealthy, white women. That website says there are over 3,000 more active cases of missing men than women. I can't remember the last time I heard about a missing man on the news.
post #14 of 21
The last missing man that immediately comes to mind for me is JFK Jr.
Didn't the Navy end up getting involved with that one?
post #15 of 21
I think it's media thing. They are the ones who make a big deal out of missing women and girls. It does not mean that everyone else feels the same way. Yes it's sad and tragic and we hope and pray for thier safe return but what about the pregnant woamn missing in Philly? I heard about it a few weeks ago only after she had been missing for 6 weeks. Is it because she's african american? Is it because she's from Philly? Why are we so cought up woth that girl in Aruba but not this woman? To me it seems like the media is only reporting on missing young white women and not much else.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me-n-my guys
The last missing man that immediately comes to mind for me is JFK Jr.
Didn't the Navy end up getting involved with that one?
Actually, I did hear of a man on his honeymoon who went missing from a cruise ship July 7. But have heard very little since. Definitely nothing close to the Aruba case.
post #17 of 21
Here I think there is more attention given to gender than race. I agree that girls certainly do seem to get a bit more coverage but it does not seem to matter as much what racial background they are.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by slitty_kittay
Here I think there is more attention given to gender than race. I agree that girls certainly do seem to get a bit more coverage but it does not seem to matter as much what racial background they are.
In the US media, I disagree.

A pregnant woman disappears, no sign of her since, her cell phone and credit cards have not been used - the father of her baby is a "person of interest".

Who has heard of the following cases:
Lacy Peterson - White, California
Lori Hacking - White, Utah
Latoyia Figueroa - Black, Philadelphia

My bets are that most people are familiar with the first two. Latoyia disappeared July 18. Outside of the local area, has anyone heard of her? I didn't until this thread and there was an article in the paper this morning addressing the issue of this thread.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig
In the US media, I disagree.
Of course, I didn't mean the US media , the *here* I was referring to was my location, In sweden.
post #20 of 21
Star was saying on The View, that at around the same time the girl in Aruba went missing, there was a black girl that went missing (in FL?) too, and she got little to no coverage at all.

Unfortunately, I think crimes against white females are more prevalent in the news. Would Lacy Peterson have been the huge news story it was if she was black? Would Elizabeth Smart? Polly Klaas? JonBenet Ramsey?

I can't remember ONE new story that made headlines like those that involved a black woman, or a male.
post #21 of 21
For America, I voted the first option. However, in Canada, it's a bit different. Anyone remember Tamra Keepness (still missing 13 months) and Cecilia Zhang (found dead)? They were 2 aboriginal girls, 5 and 9 years old, that went missing in Ontario.
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