The day everyone said goodbye to Florida child victim Caylee Marie Anthony, TV trucks rolled from the 2-year-old’s memorial in Orlando to a double-wide trailer 80 miles away where 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings was last seen alive, says the Orlando Sentinel. “It was deja vu all over again,” said Bob Longo, news director for WESH-Channel 2. Soon, reporters on the latest missing-little-girl story began leaving; it wasn’t deja vu after all. Haleigh’s story is fading after three weeks, but the Anthony saga has remained in the headlines for almost eight months.
The contrast between the tents and trailer where Haleigh’s family pleaded for her return and the Anthonys’ suburban home points to one of the reasons Haleigh’s story is fading from the headlines, said Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg. “I think the greatest difference between the Caylee story and the Haleigh story is social class,” said Clark. “I don’t believe that working-class Americans get a very fair shake in the news media in general.” Only a handful of reporters remain in Haleigh’s isolated community even though investigators said Haleigh was abducted and they think she is alive. “Any missing child is a tragedy and a cause for great alarm and concern,” said Bob Jordan, news director for WFTV-Channel 9. “Every one of those kids is news, but that does not translate into equal news interest.”