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February 06, 2004

Disconnect

Sadly, the story of poor Carlie Bruscia is nothing new: Bad Man Snatches Little Girl. The more sensational, the better, as we saw with the story of Elizabeth Smart, the recent rescue of three little Georgia girls whose stepfather killed the rest of their family, and now this, where even NASA got involved to try and refine the resolution of the security camera footage. I'm always struck by how remarkably beautiful these little girls are, smiling out of family or school portraits, and I always want them to be found, safe, sound, unscarred, untouched. But from the news you'd think only the blonde, blue-eyed little girls get taken.

In the wake of Boobygate - what with the FCC investigating the Jackson-Timberlake NFL halftime-show fiasco and some woman in Tennessee seeking to bring a class action lawsuit against Jackson, Timberlake, MTV, CBS and Viacom for the injury of seeing Janet indecently exposed - Ms. Jackson won't be appearing at the Grammys. (She was to introduce an award for Luther Vandross, who's now not coming anyway because of illness.) But Justin "She Made Me Do It" Timberlake is going to be there, since he's up for Grammys this year. No one's calling for him to keep away.

So what's the message here - an exposed woman is a nasty whore and persona non grata - she asked for it, she made him do it - but the guy who rips open her clothing and exposes her isn't equally complicit? The faux rape imagery is appalling enough, but equally sickening is the heaping of blame on Jackson alone, as if this were some tacky retelling of Adam and Eve, and it's really Eve's fault they both got kicked out of Paradise.

Yours, &c., LC | 02:34 PM | Sundries | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Would you please explain exactly what you mean (with documented facts if necessary) by...

"...from the news you'd think only the blonde, blue-eyed little girls get taken".

Thanks.

Posted by: Barry Shapiro at February 8, 2004 05:10 PM

I wasn't asserting a fact, merely the personal perception that mainstream media coverage of child kidnappings seems to focus more sharply on white children, to put it bluntly. There are the national databases, such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which show that the population of missing kids is a wide and varied group. But not all of those stories are going to make the national news. Whether that's a function of one missing child being a less sensational story than another, as opposed to factors like race or social standing or even whether the child is a boy or a girl, I don't know. Perhaps there's a media study for that, but I don't claim to be an expert.

I imagine, though, that every parent of a missing child would hope that their child's case would get equally prominent coverage.

Posted by: LadyCrumpet at February 9, 2004 09:14 AM

I can't speak for Lady C, and it is her impression that you're questioning, but here's a quote from Kelly McBride, who teaches journalistic ethics at the Poynter Institute and studies media coverage on rape and kidnapping, writes "We tend to, in the media, on the national level, place more weight with children who are white, children who come from economic circumstances that are middle or upper level, and we tend to dismiss as too messy children from personal situations that are too complicated or messy."

Posted by: Scott at February 9, 2004 09:28 AM