Sunday, July 31, 2005


I'm watching NBC - actually, about to watch my least favorite of the Law and Orders, the one with Private Pile from Full Metal Jacket, here in Del Boca Vista, Florida, with my grandparents. So there's some show called Dateline - heard of it, never saw it - and they just did a promo for Dateline Friday, and here's the lead-in: Laci,'ve heard of them all, but not of this one...and they go on to show the picture of an African-American woman, whose name eludes me, but who has been missing for a year, or even more.

I've read about her - I believe it's Atrios that is always giving Nancy Lynch Mob Cooper crap about her covering missing white women and ignoring missing brown women - and have often noted the disparity, chalking it up to: 1. they're not white, and thus, they don't tap into the pornographic fear/sexualizing of missing white women; 2. they're not white, and thus, the cue card readers and producers (who are normally white) don't think it will play well with the target demographic.

Anyway, Dateline does this lead in, and then they show one mnissing African-American woman, then another, and then ask: what do these women have in common? They' And they're missing. Why haven't you heard? asks the anchor in serious tele-journalist voice. Cut to friend of missing woman: she's smart, she's beautiful, she's middle class...but she's black.

Back to serious voiced cue card reader: Tune in on Friday to find out why we haven't been covering them.

Something's off in this...a lot, actually. First, has the navel gazing media establishment become so fixated on itself that the very networks whose negligence is so lamentable find it good copy to run shows on how lamentably negligent they are? I mean, why not become less of a joke and be self-aware? Second, rather than step back and say, Hey - maybe this whole missing white women thing is getting out of hand, out of some benighted sense of "balance" they do a show on missing black women, of whom there happen to be a lot...they can fill a whole hour with it! Think of the ad revenues!

Lots is made about blogger ethics, blogger this and that, and any number of inane behaviors on the part of print and tele-journalists could be cited to match anything Atrios or Powerline has done or does. Will anything be made of this? Is this to be thought of as some sort of mea culpa, or just a sad effort to capitalize on more misery while engaging in masturbatory self-promotion? Perhaps Dateline can run a show on that.

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