Costas Says No, Media Say Yes  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   October/November 2005

Costas Says No, Media Say Yes   


I agree Bob Costas is one of the best journalists sports or news. But where he says "No," the mass media continue to say "Yes." ("Just Say No," August/ September Web Special.)

Yes to bombarding the public with "Made for 24-hour TV news" sagas about missing women, and specifically white women. Are there no missing women of color? Are women of color exempt from kidnappings? Do the media feel the American public does not care or want to hear when a woman of color is missing?

While the "runaway bride" misled America, and the news media went into a frenzy to document the eventual hoax from beginning to end, there was a pregnant black woman missing in Philadelphia, but she was not even mentioned. Her story remained local even though it occurred in the fourth largest media market. A black woman was missing in the South, and a relative, a PR executive, went to every major network to publicize the story and ask for help. She was turned away. It remained a local story.

With great power comes great responsibility. I think the larger media need to remember they have a "great responsibility" to inform the American public and not just the "Anglo public."

Robert K. Lanier
San Diego, California

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