When Tamika Huston, a 24-year-old black woman, disappeared a year ago from her home in Spartanburg, S.C., her loved ones distributed fliers, held news conferences and set up a Web site. Huston’s story became a cause célèbre in the local media. But they had little luck in getting the national media interested in the case. “I spent three weeks calling the cable networks, calling newspapers – even yours,” the woman’s aunt told USA Today this week.
By contrast, the disappearances of murder victims Laci Peterson and Lori Hacking, kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart, Alabama high school student Natalee Holloway and “runaway bride” Jennifer Wilbanks got endless play on cable news networks and morning news shows. Those networks, which drive such stories, are being asked a tough question: Do they care only about missing white women? Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Wilbanks and her fiance have signed a $500,000 “story rights” deal for a book and movie.