Cable television may have found its next missing young woman to obsess over. She is Taylor Behl, 17, a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond who has been missing for more than two weeks. Her mother, Janet Pelasara, had a busy day Monday, reports the Washington Post: bookings on Fox News Channel, CNN, and Court TV. She could spare only a few minutes in a hotel lobby for a newspaper reporter. “Greta’s here; I’m going to meet with her,” Pelasara, referring to Greta Van Susteren, host of a crime and legal affairs program on Fox. “I have Nancy Grace tonight,” said Pelesara, 44. “There was ‘The Early Show,’ ” she said, listing some of her recent network and syndicated TV appearances. “There was ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘Inside Edition’ ”
The shows have a seemingly bottomless appetite for dramas like hers. Stories of missing young women who are thought to have been abducted are a particular staple of the 24-hour cable news channels. Critics complain that such coverage is devoted disproportionately to suburban white women, such as Behl, while victims of color who are poor are often overlooked. Pelasara can’t afford to consider that debate at the moment. Her goal is to get on as many programs as possible, to keep her daughter’s face in front of the nation.