Friday, December 19, 2008

Rant: The missing white girl shuffle

Listen, there’s nothing funny about little kids getting murdered. I’m not going to pretend there is. And it’s even less funny when their parents might have killed them. It’s tragic, sick and wrong. All that being said: Why the f$!# is the national news media so consumed with the Caylee Anthony case?

I can’t turn on the news or stand in line at the grocery store without seeing her adorable and therefore TRAGIC little face and pictures of people with no remote connection to her except that they also read about her while in line to buy potato chips holding protests and candlelight vigils on her mom’s lawn.

In case you guys aren’t news junkies, or have servants who go to Rite Aid to buy $6 bottles of Little Penguin for you, Caylee Anthony was this three-year-old girl in Florida who went missing a while back, and the cops think her mom killed her. They found her remains recently; DNA tests confirmed today that it’s her. It’s awful. But it’s also really not news outside the metro-Orlando region.

And yet…

Of course we all know the real reason this “is” news: Adorable white girl goes missing = International news frenzy. It’s like Natalie Whatshername and the one from England. I’m all for Amber Alerts and getting the names and faces of missing kids out there so they can be found, but if you’re cute and white, you apparently also get your disappearance turned into a quasi celebrity event. Can you imagine if Suri Cruise went missing? I think Nancy Grace would have a stroke on the air.

My real question though is this: Who cares about this stuff? Not in like a passing, "Oh my God that's terrible. Her poor family" kind of way, but in a "I'm going to devote roughly 4,000 hours of my life studying this" kind of way. They’re presumably flogging this case like a drunken sailor because its getting ratings, right? But I have never once been at a gathering of any kind and heard anyone mention it. I can’t remember ever clicking on a link to read more about the story. I have pieced together everything I know about it from the covers of People and the National Enquirer. I don’t know anyone who’s acted differently.

So what do you guys think? Am I just soulless wench who clearly wasn’t born with what you humans call “feelings,” or is this thing blown just a little out of proportion when compared to the grand scheme of things like cholera epidemics and human trafficking and this guy’s hair?


MichelleSG said...

The US runs on money. The cute little white girl gets people's attention ie more newspapers sold, more hits on the website. That translates to $$'s so get used to seeing that face everywhere. And you know if that mom really wanted to get rid of her child she could have earned money off a pretty little white girl. With the quantity of infertile women in the us? Please, they would have lined up and had a friggin bidding war.

Liz said...

This is my question though: Is this really making $$$? Is anyone besides a small group of loonies following this story that closely?

pistols at dawn said...

I don't watch the news, don't read the papers, and generally ignore the world around me, so I can't say I much care about one kidnapped white girl whose mom is - guilty or innocent - crazy enough to be a suspect in her kid's murder.

BeckEye said...

I just talked to someone at a party recently who told me they had a friend who worked for a news station and he was in charge of the "missing white girl" stories. He wasn't kidding either. I sort of sarcastically said, "OH, and who's in charge of the missing black girl one?" and he was like, "Yeah, they don't care about that." Sad but true.

Malcolm said...

Right along with other stories that fall in the MWWS (Missing White Woman Syndrome) category, the Caylee Anthony case is blown way out of proportion. I think the only people who really care about this case are those who get stiff or wet over true crime stories.

The thing that pisses me off is that the media doesn't even try to be subtle in conveying the message that unless you are cute and white, your life isn't worth a damn. The only time I've ever seen a black missing persons case get national coverage is the one involving Jennifer Hudson's nephew. If it wasn't for the fact that Jennifer is a celeb, we wouldn't have heard a word about her nephew.

Anonymous said...

I don't much care for these type of stories because sadly the media are blatant about not caring about any other type of missing child (i.e. those of color). Obviously they would only do it because the story attracts viewers. It's the same reason why the local 6 o'clock news airs footage of the latest panda birth or killing at a toys r us in wisconsin. How the hell does that affect me? You mean there's no local news worth covering to fill that time?

It's the reason why there are more and more celebrity feature stories in the news. Out of the five top 5 yahoo stories, how many is actually newsworthy? Maybe 2 if you're lucky. Right now, it's Holyfield falls short, The most Toxic Toys on the Market, What's different about Kobe's shoes, and Museum retrieves missing 15K diamond. Hmmm.

Perhaps we should talk about how Goldman Sachs and AIG whom we as tax payers bailed out still gave out bonuses this year. Goldman Sachs got $10 billion in government money and it gave out 10.93 billion in bonuses and benefits, according to abc news.
Apparently, they didn't use taxpayers money for the bonuses. Hey, why don't we just not ask for federal money and use that bonus money to loan it to small businesses? It seems ridiculous that people are being rewarded for almost single handedly bringing down the US economy.

Speaking of cholera epidemics and trafficking, I'm periodically contribute to a boston chapter of Amnesty International. If you want to read more about the Zimbabwe epidemic, you can go to
What's happening in Zimbabwe right now is out of control. Children are foraging for food. People haven't had running water in months. Inflation is out of control making food purchases difficult for average Zimbabweans. People are fleeing to South Africa for basic medical treatment. And a dictator is clinging to power while his country is spiraling into oblivion.

Finally, for those who are Massholes like myself, there is actually human trafficking legislation that could expire at the end of the year if the Senate committee on Ways and Means do not act. I encourage you to write to your state rep. or senator so that they know people care about this issue and that they would heed their constituents and do something about it. It is Senate Bill No. 97:

Sorry for the soapbox. I'll step down now and shop at Wal-Mart at the Hanover Mall where I can find Steven Tyler do some Xmas Shopping

East Coast Elite