View Poll Results: Does the Media do a good job informing the nation of Missing Children cases?

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  • Yes, they do a good job.

    1 9.09%
  • No, they pick and choose unfairly.

    5 45.45%
  • Undecided

    4 36.36%
  • Other

    1 9.09%
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Thread: Research Paper Poll: Missing Children Media Dis...

  1. #1
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Research Paper Poll: Missing Children Media Dis...

    Missing Children Media Discrimination

    I am polling all the boards I'm on to see what the overall feeling is when it comes to how the media handles missing children reports.

    Do you think they do it fairly?
    Do you think they do it unfairly?

    also, feel free to give comments, I need all the opinions/feelings I can get!

  2. #2
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    I said "Undecided". Clearly, not all cases get the same amount of attention. The problem is that I do not believe I would pay attention to any more reports. As it is, I vascilate toward news broadcasts that spend most of their time on World news, and don't really talk about missing children and such. Also, even in the cases where media pays a lot of attention, it is largely on totally irrelevant stuff: interviews with family friends talking about how sweat the child is and other such things. This, IMHO, does nothing to recover the child.

    Ultimately, I guess I do not believe it is the media's job to consciously help recover those children. I believe it is the governement's job. For instance, I would not mind a law requiring broadcasters to put out information on all missing children. OTOH, if the police were less through in searching for a low income child of color, it would be the media's job to alert the public's attention.

    News, however, are just that -- news. And, regardless of how heartless this may seem, I would rather hear details about countries due to join EU in 2004 than about missing children. Just my five cents.

  3. #3
    Gliding Along dlkksk8fan's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if each state handles missing children differently as far as media is concerned. I know in CA there is the Amber Alert. Now I am wondering if the Anber Alert is used nation wide.

  4. #4
    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    I think it is nationwide. I know they have it here in Kansas.

  5. #5
    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    We have it in WV. (Amber alert)

    Toni,

    Do you have any numbers that show how many children are reported missing to the authorities and how many missing children stories are covered by the media at any given time ?

    Last edited by Piel; 11-05-2003 at 10:48 PM.

  6. #6
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    yes the Amber Alert is nationwide... however my real arguement is why do kids like Elizabeth Smart get the attention of the national media while so many don't?

    the Amber Alert is also not notified about every child, I am not an expert by any means on this topic... which is why I'm testing the waters here.

  7. #7
    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    Re: Elizabeth Smart two things that were unusual in her case were that (like Polly Kloss (sp)) she was taken from her home and there was an actual eye witness, her sister. Especially by having a witness I believe the authorities were able to exclude family members more quickly than usual. In most cases where the family is the main suspect it limits the the area that is being searched. In cases where the suspect is unknown then obviously there is a much larger area to search and therefore the more media hoopla the better. After Elizabeth was recovered the fact that she was found alive added to the media frenzy along with the strangeness of the circumstances of her captivity/captors. You might even speculate that if the focus had been more local and less national she may have been discovered sooner.

    Piel

  8. #8
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    however my real arguement is why do kids like Elizabeth Smart get the attention of the national media while so many don't?
    Warning: playing devil's advocate here. It is unrealistic to have the media cover all child disappearances as they did E. Smart. Would you consider it OK to have equally skimpy coverage on all?

  9. #9
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    For some odd reason, I voted 'other'.

    Within the 1st few hours, the search for a missing child should be local - unless the person has means, it's hard to make a quick getaway with a child. The longer the period of time the child is missing, the farther away the child can be taken - that's probably when the national media should be utilized, but only if a reasonable amount of information can be provided.

    There are a lot of children abducted daily - mostly where there are custody issues. Very few children are abducted by complete strangers.

    Cases like Elizabeth's and Polly's are very unusual. Truthfully, I don't know how long it was between the kidnapping and the national coverage. Overall, I can't see issuing a national alert within hours of a kidnapping, but can see it being more worthwhile if the child is missing for an extended period of time.

    On a local level, the local networks flash pictures of missing children just before at least one commercial break during a newscast. This has been pretty effective if I recall correctly - same with the milk carton pictures.

    New Jersey has utilized the Amber alert at least once that I know of. I think it was mentioned that it is only issued if there is enough confirmed viable information. The authorities do not want to issue false information that may lead to confusion. I think they will issue information about the child, but won't say anything about the kidnapper and/or getaway vehicle without reasonable certainty. For instance, if a witness says a white car and another says a dark care - no description of vehicle will be given.

    Overall, I think the media is probably more effective at a local level.

  10. #10
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    Well, I immediately wanted to say that the media doesn't do a balanced job. But, local media here in Chattanooga, TN has always done an excellent job. Certainly, kidnappings and child disappearances are rare here, but when they occur EVERYONE knows and it is a huge story. A poor 6-year old black girl disappeared several years ago and the media did an excellent job of covering this story. She was missing for several years and the story continued to make headlines throughout that period...until her body was found. An extremely sad story, she was so beautiful...but in that case I think that the media went above and beyond. Nationally speaking, I don't have the same opinion. News is news. Stations want to air what the most people will watch...and middle class white people will be riveted by stories concerning middle class white children in peril. It just makes you wonder..for every Elizabeth Smart there must be a dozen nameless, less privileged children that aren't deemed as promising ratings material.

    Also, I can understand not wanting news coverage to be saturated with the melodramatic element of the child disappearance, but news coverage can and has proven to be an invaluable tool in securing information on missing children. The heartbreaking interviews, etc. aren't needed. But, I certainly don't mind sitting through a segment of photos and situation descriptions that could possibly bring a captured child home.

  11. #11
    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    When entering or exiting WalMart and the like where there are boards with the pictures/descriptions of missing/abducted children, do you actually stop, look at the pictures, read the descriptions?

    When first reading this thread I thought why not have a segment as part of the news each day that shows these pictures and just as quickly thought that if there was such thing I doubt if most people would take the time to actually pay attention to it.

    A sad commentary on our values? Our local news each week runs a list if people who have unclaimed property from old safe deposit boxes/bank accounts that has been turned over to the state.:\

    Piel

  12. #12
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Bronzes, I think your assessment of National vs. Local coverage is very shrewd. I guess I replied to the question the way I did partially because I do not generally follow the local news.
    Last edited by Ptichka; 11-07-2003 at 12:30 AM.

  13. #13
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    Ptichka,

    Thanks. I do agree with your view that often these reports are focused on the wrong aspects. But, honestly, I do get sucked in by that and then become terribly upset. LOL! Evil news networks! I guess it is only natural to want good ratings, but surely there are alternatives to endlessly exploiting the private lives of missing children. National news coverage has perfected the art of going straight for the heart strings...and tearing them asunder!

  14. #14
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    The amber alert is also used here in canada, as I recently found out with the disappearance of the Toronto girl.

    I just have to say that I too feel the media is grossly biased when reporting these cases. If the child isn't cute and adorable from a great home, they get far less air time than a neglected child from a troubled home. Neither child is more valuable than the other, yet the media appears to value the lives of one child over that of another, and I think that is disgusting. What should be good for one should be good for all. Just because there may only be 5 people that love child A and there are 20 who love child B does not mean the value of Child B's life is more than that of Child A.

    Child A could be the one that discovers the cure for cancer... every child has immense value and it sickens me that the media don't acknowledge that.

  15. #15
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I am not saying drop the rest of the news and go for total coverage of every child


    I just want to know why kids have to be from well to do families to be "extraordinary" for news boradcasts...

    there are quite a few nationwide that equal the story of E. Smart... but they're not from wealth families... or goodness me they just aren't "news worthy"...

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