Burnt Orange Report


News, Politics, and Fun From Deep in the Heart of Texas







Support the TDP!





May 10, 2005

Constructive Media Criticism

By Jim Dallas

If you've been reading the blog circuit recently, you know that Doug McKinnon, a former staffer for Bob Dole, has written a stinging op-ed in the Chicago Tribune about the media fascination with missing "single white females" --

Note to the news media--with an emphasis on the cable networks: Enough is enough.

Your continual focus on, and reporting of, missing, young, attractive white women not only demeans your profession but is a televised slap in the face to minority mothers and parents the nation over who search for their own missing children with little or no assistance or notice from anyone.

The latest missing woman to dominate the airtime of the cable networks was Jennifer Wilbanks, from Duluth, Ga. Like Dru Sjodin, Chandra Levy and Elizabeth Smart all before her, Wilbanks is young, white and attractive. Wilbanks, as it turned out, ran away of her own volition from her impending marriage. As a Maryland police official told me after Wilbanks turned up in New Mexico, "the media's non-stop focus on the possible abduction of Wilbanks forced the local officials and police departments to spend thousands of dollars they would not otherwise have spent."

Define racism. One could certainly make the argument that the cable networks that continually focus on these missing white women, to the virtual exclusion of minority women, are practicing a form of racism. The racism in this case, however, while predicated on color, does not concern itself with the color of one's skin. Rather, it is based on the color of money, ratings points and competition. Would an African-American woman who went missing days before her wedding receive the same (or any) coverage as that of Wilbanks? Not likely.

The unfortunate irony being that important trends go unreported while singular, sensationalistic incidents like the run-away bride story get coverage way out of proportion to their actual relevance. Granted, such journalism appears to get the John Tierney seal of approval, but I think we can all agree with Tbogg about John Tierney.

Here at the Burnt Orange Report we like to do more than idle complaining, so here's a hot (only because it's been simmering on the backburner for about a decade) scoop for all you journalists:

The Governor of the state of Chihuahua in Mexico said recently that international attention on the situation in Ciudad Juarez is damaging the city's public image. The purpose of Reyes Baeza's comments is unclear, but such statements in the past have had the effect of undermining families and local NGOs seeking justice.

To say that it is international concern, and not the situation in the region, that is damaging the city's image is very clearly wrong-headed. Ciudad Juarez has a reputation for violence and brutality against women -- not because of international concern -- but because of the reality and the institutional failures to deal effectively with this reality.

The reality is that since 1993 more than 370 young women and girls have been murdered in the cities of Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua - at least a third suffering sexual violence - without the authorities taking proper measures to investigate and address the problem.

Thanks to the efforts of the families of the victims and local women's organizations, coupled with international campaigning by the likes of Amnesty International and V-Day, things have begun to change. In 2003-4, in the face of this intense pressure, the federal government finally agreed to get involved, with a range of measures to combat violence against women in Ciudad Juarez -- but sadly not the city of Chihuahua.

By "international pressure," of course, Amnesty International does not appear to be talking about the mainstream media in the United States. A LexisNexis search of major newspapers' full text over the last five years turns up 210 hits for "Jennifer Wilbanks", 293 hits for "Dru Sjodin", and "error, over 1,000 results found" for "Chandra Levy" (I counted 2,876 by splitting the search into about five different time-periods). Combined for three women, this is 3,379 stories over five years, or about one-and-a-half per day.

A full-text search of "'Ciudad Juarez' AND 'missing women'" returned 12 stories, four of which were printed by Canadian papers, three by Australian papers, and one by the London Telegraph. So basically, major U.S. papers have run four stories over five years. Wire services ran 18 stories; I could not find a single English-media transcript or magazine article containing those search terms.

Lexis-ing isn't necessarily the best measure of the mainstream media's focus, since it depends on the art of search-term-ing. Nonetheless, I think we can all see a pattern here.

If you've heard of this issue at all it's probably been because of human rights NGOs or Texas-based womens' issue advocates. That's how I'm aware of the issue, anyway. The media is doing a truly shameful job of addressing border issues, particularly when they intersect with the larger issue of womens' safety.

Posted by Jim Dallas at May 10, 2005 02:29 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Is anyone else disturbed that this guy is making judgments on which 12-year-old girls are attractive? But seriously, true that.

Posted by: Kevin L. at May 10, 2005 03:24 PM

The reason I've heard about the situation in Ciudad Juarez is because I'm from El Paso. The violence is apalling and it sickens me that the mainstream media, outside of El Paso, doesn't pay attention to this story.

Posted by: Ramon at May 10, 2005 03:38 PM

Jim, While I respect what you are saying and the point you make, your Lexis/Nexis search concerning Ciudad Juarez was just incorrect. The Houston Chronicle, my hometown paper, has published at least 5 stories on this situation in the past year. I recall a feature story on the missing women of Cd. Juarez in the Houston Press in the last year as well. In addition, KHOU-TV has has special reports on the disappearance of women from both it's Houston based reporters, and it's Mexico City bureau chief. I think perhaps the parameters you put in the search were the reason there were so few "hits" from the US media.

Posted by: grnwayrob at May 10, 2005 05:34 PM

A couple of the hits I got were from the Houston Chronicle. Also, neither KHOU nor the Houston Press are included as "major papers" by LN.

"Major papers" in Texas are, for example, the H-Chron, the Statesman, the Dallas Morning News, and the San Antonio Express-News. There may be a few others.

I doubt it's the search terms so much as the source list. Although the search terms are part of it.

Posted by: Jim D at May 11, 2005 12:15 AM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?








June 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    


About Us
About/Contact
Advertising Policies

Donate

Tip Jar!



Archives
Recent Entries
Categories
BOR Edu.
University of Texas
University Democrats

BOR News
The Daily Texan
The Statesman
The Chronicle

BOR Politics
DNC
DNC Blog: Kicking Ass
DSCC
DSCC Blog: From the Roots
DCCC
DCCC Blog: The Stakeholder
Texas Dems
Travis County Dems

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett
State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
State Rep. Mark Strama
Linked to BOR!
Alexa Rating
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
Technoranti Link Cosmos
Blogstreet Blogback
Polling
American Research Group
Annenberg Election Survey
Gallup
Polling Report
Rasmussen Reports
Survey USA
Zogby
Texas Stuff
A Little Pollyana
Austin Bloggers
DFW Bogs
DMN Blog
In the Pink Texas
Inside the Texas Capitol
The Lasso
Pol State TX Archives
Quorum Report Daily Buzz
George Strong Political Analysis
Texas Law Blog
Texas Monthly
Texas Observer
TX Dem Blogs
100 Monkeys Typing
Alandwilliams.com
Alt 7
Annatopia
Appalachia Alumni Association
Barefoot and Naked
BAN News
Betamax Guillotine
Blue Texas
Border Ass News
The Daily DeLay
The Daily Texican
Dos Centavos
Drive Democracy Easter Lemming
Esoterically
Get Donkey
Greg's Opinion
Half the Sins of Mankind
Jim Hightower
Houtopia
Hugo Zoom
Latinos for Texas
Off the Kuff
Ones and Zeros
Panhandle Truth Squad
Aaron Peña's Blog
People's Republic of Seabrook
Pink Dome
The Red State
Rhetoric & Rhythm
Rio Grande Valley Politics
Save Texas Reps
Skeptical Notion
Something's Got to Break
Southpaw
Stout Dem Blog
The Scarlet Left
Tex Prodigy
ToT
View From the Left
Yellow Doggeral Democrat
TX GOP Blogs
Beldar Blog
Blogs of War
Boots and Sabers
Dallas Arena
Jessica's Well
Lone Star Times
Publius TX
Safety for Dummies
The Sake of Arguement
Slightly Rough
Daily Reads
&c.
ABC's The Note
Atrios
BOP News
Daily Kos
Media Matters
MyDD
NBC's First Read
Political State Report
Political Animal
Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
CBS Washington Wrap
Wonkette
Matthew Yglesias
College Blogs
CDA Blog
Get More Ass (Brown)
Dem Apples (Harvard)
KU Dems
U-Delaware Dems
UNO Dems
Stanford Dems
GLBT Blogs
American Blog
BlogActive
Boi From Troy
Margaret Cho
Downtown Lad
Gay Patriot
Raw Story
Stonewall Dems
Andrew Sullivan
More Reads
Living Indefinitely
Blogroll Burnt Orange!
BOR Webrings
< ? Texas Blogs # >
<< ? austinbloggers # >>
« ? MT blog # »
« ? MT # »
« ? Verbosity # »
Election Returns
CNN 1998 Returns
CNN 2000 Returns
CNN 2002 Returns
CNN 2004 Returns

state elections 1992-2005

bexar county elections
collin county elections
dallas county elections
denton county elections
el paso county elections
fort bend county elections
galveston county elections
harris county elections
jefferson county elections
tarrant county elections
travis county elections


Texas Media
abilene
abilene reporter news

alpine
alpine avalanche

amarillo
amarillo globe news

austin
austin american statesman
austin chronicle
daily texan online
keye news (cbs)
kut (npr)
kvue news (abc)
kxan news (nbc)
news 8 austin

beaumont
beaumont enterprise

brownsville
brownsville herald

college station
the battalion (texas a&m)

corpus christi
corpus christi caller times
kris news (fox)
kztv news (cbs)

crawford
crawford lone star iconoclast

dallas-fort worth
dallas morning news
dallas observer
dallas voice
fort worth star-telegram
kdfw news (fox)
kera (npr)
ktvt news (cbs)
nbc5 news
wfaa news (abc)

del rio
del rio news herald

el paso
el paso times
kdbc news (cbs)
kfox news (fox)
ktsm (nbc)
kvia news (abc)

galveston
galveston county daily news

harlingen
valley morning star

houston
houston chronicle
houston press
khou news (cbs)
kprc news (nbc)
ktrk news (abc)

laredo
laredo morning times

lockhart
lockhart post-register

lubbock
lubbock avalanche journal

lufkin
lufkin daily news

marshall
marshall news messenger

mcallen
the monitor

midland - odessa
midland reporter telegram
odessa american

san antonio
san antonio express-news

seguin
seguin gazette-enterprise

texarkana
texarkana gazette

tyler
tyler morning telegraph

victoria
victoria advocate

waco
kxxv news (abc)
kwtx news (cbs)
waco tribune-herald

weslaco
krgv news (nbc)

statewide
texas cable news
texas triangle


World News
ABC News
All Africa News
Arab News
Atlanta Constitution-Journal
News.com Australia
BBC News
Bloomberg
Boston Globe
CBS News
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Denver Post
FOX News
Google News
The Guardian
Inside China Today
International Herald Tribune
Japan Times
LA Times
Mexico Daily
Miami Herald
MSNBC
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New York Times
El Pais (Spanish)
Salon
San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Slate
Times of India
Toronto Star
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post



Powered by
Movable Type 3.15