The unreported story of media racism
The reporting of the death of Gabby Petito has raised the old issue of media racism.
Just as the increase in black city officials has not completely ended the historic racism of the Democrat political machines in America’s major cities, the growing number of “people of color” on the news networks have not stopped the historic racism in the reporting of news.
We now have the latest example.
The death of Petito, and the ongoing search for her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, has been a headline story with “legs” – as the journalism Jargon goes. It started out big when Petito went missing and her boyfriend returned home with her SUV – and not her. Since that time, the search for Petito has been an evergreen feature of the daily news shows. We are still getting nothing-new news updates daily. CNN has even produced a prime-time Saturday night documentary on the case.
What about Daniel Robinson? Who? Daniel Robinson is a 24-year-old geologist who has been missing for several months. He is a well-educated handsome fellow with a great professional career and bright future. Unlike Petite, however, he is black.
This tragic story of Petito has been one of the top stories – competing for top-of-the-news position with the Capitol Hill riot, the supply-chain crisis, the border crisis and the Pandemic.
What can possibly make this story any more newsworthy than the hundreds of other individuals who “go missing” – and the scores who have gone missing since the disappearance of Petito broke into the news.
The extensive news coverage has mobilized citizens into various forms of participation in the tragedy. As one commentator put it, “it is an American tragedy.” And the hundreds of other missing people are not?
There are those unofficial memorials that are filled with flowers, vigil lights, teddy bears and messages of hope and prayer. A Petito bench is being crafted for the “memorial site.” Though both the victim and the pursued boyfriend are residents of North Port, Florida, her birthplace in New Jersey is participating in a range of civic mourning events.
The minority communities – specifically the black community – has a higher rate of missing young women than the white, Latino, Asian or Native American communities. Many of those missing wind up dead. But none of them get the media attention of a young pretty white girl. And Petito is not the first missing – and murdered – young white girl to have the compulsive attention of the national news media. It is nothing less than obvious and outrageous racism on the part of the sanctimonious Fourth Estate.
The only time a black killing makes the news is if they die at the hands of a white police officer. And that is rooted in a very different narrative and different political motivation. In the case of police-related deaths, only the black victims matter – even though more white males are killed by police than black males. And THAT is a different form of media racism. But that is a subject for another time.
And this is nothing new. In my earliest days of civil rights activism – some 50 years ago – one of the issues-of-the-day was the underreporting of minority crime victims. The murder of a single white person would garner a lot more media attention – locally and nationally — than the greater number of murders taking place in the inner cities on a regular basis. In too many cases, there was no major media attention at all. The news reports of black and Latino murders were left to the very small and local ethnic publications – if even that.
On the international stage, media racism has been a factor for generations. Tragic events in Africa – riots, famines, coups – were never given the same coverage as similar events in Europe. Many riots, disasters and plagues were not reported at all in the American press.
Even today, when President Biden attempted to minimize the new emboldened terrorist threat in the aftermath of the Afghanistan surrender, he emphasized what he deemed more serious threats emanating from regions of Africa. Before his raising the issue, how much coverage did those ongoing terrorist activities in Africa get in American new coverage? Very little. And they still do.
The American media needs a lot of soul-searching and self-correction before they can pound their collective chest over their fighting racism in America.
So, there ‘tis.