Why are some news outlets obsessing over the disappearance of Utah jogger Lori Hacking? MSNBC contrasts the cases of missing people Shelton Sanders, a black South Carolina man whose disappearance got hardly any publicity, and Dail Dinwiddie, a white woman who vanished and got extensive national media attention.
“When was the last time you heard something about a 23-year-old black female who was missing on NBC or 'World News Tonight'?” asked David Hazinski, a former NBC News correspondent who teaches broadcast journalism at the University of Georgia. “I think in general we just really don't hear about Latin or black or Asian people who are missing,” he said. “I'm not sure why.” Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida says, “It's all about sex. There are several common threads. The victims that get the most coverage are female rather than male. They are white, in general, rather than young people of color. They are at least middle class, if not upper middle class. White is good; black is bad. Blonde is good; dark is bad. Young is good; old is bad.”