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Media Bias: Only White Kids Get Abducted

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Thousands of kids go missing each day -- so why do we never seem to hear about the African-American children?

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What do JonBenet Ramsey, Madeleine McCann, Elizabeth Smart and Polly Klaas all have in common?  They are all girls who have been abducted -- or in the most tragic cases, killed -- and they are all attractive white girls. Strikingly, the other similarity is all of their stories got massive play in the media during darkest days of their disappearance.

The media has always seemed to only be interested in covering stories of white children who go missing -- and pretty ones at that. Currently, Caylee Anthony fits that profile: doe-eyed with a winning smile. Despite ourselves when we first heard her story many of us thought, "Oh it's so sad, she's such a pretty little girl."

But pretty and white are not the only children in peril, and are not the only ones who should have our attention. Nearly 800,000 children under the age of 18 are reported missing each year in the United States, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Of those reported missing, 33% are African-American. So where's the 24/7 coverage of their stories?

Websites like Missing And Exploited Children and The Child Connection have much more racially integrated roster of missing children reflecting the true statistics. Unfortunately, websites do not have the immense reach of CNN and Fox news.

"Of the hundreds of thousand children that go missing each year, probably four or five  get significant national media attention," Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tells momlogic. "It's just another missing kid to the them unless the cases are dramatic and sensational."   

And there's another startling factor: "In many, many cities going back 50, 75 years or more, journalists would refer to 'good murders' and 'bad murders,'" explains, Roy Peter Clark, Vice president of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida.

"Good murders" -- murders that make good press -- are usually white girls from middle class families. "The example of a bad murder would be the murder of an African-American person from a poor neighborhood," says Clark.

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One website is doing its part to at least try to fix the disparity. Black and Missing But Not Forgotten is dedicated to spreading awareness of missing African-American children.  One  post on the site "Caylee Anthony is Not the Only Missing Florida Toddler, " tells the story of little Zenyetta Ra,  who is also missing from the Tampa area, about 84 miles from the last known sighting of Caylee. "Zenyetta Ra is also missing", says the site, "However, you won't see Nancy Grace talking about her. Not even the local news."

The website further exemplifies the bias by this statistic. A Google search on Caylee will garner about 600,000 results. "Can't say the same for Zenyetta," laments the website.


next: Mom Who Joined Cheerleading Squad Pleads Insanity
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