Essay about Missing Persons: The Media Bias to Report Only Pretty Blonde Girls

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  A constant sight on the news or internet is of a missing person. Studies by the crimelibrary say that over 800,000 people go missing every year (4). Of those, a little over half are men, half are ethnic minorities and around 50,000 are adults. For such democratic statistics, one would imagine that there would be an equal amount of media coverage for these demographics, yet that is not true. If we observe carefully, we can see that the media tends to follow a certain pattern with who they pick to report on. Usually they are young, pretty blonde girls. At the very least they are likely to be women. Going by what we see, it would be a fair assumption to say that most individuals who go missing are female, youth or Caucasian, yet the statistics speak otherwise.
  Currently there is a long-standing debate dealing with the effects of media. Some believe that the media is just something to indulge or watch and that it has no significant affect on people while others say that has a powerful pull on society as a whole. Research indicates that bias in media articles leads to minorities and women being portrayed in a stereotypical or harsh manner (Hazell and Clarke 3). This leads to African Americans being seen as individuals fit for “lower status occupations,” (Hazel and Clark 7). Black men were also seen as hostile, intimidating figures mainly working as athletes or musicians while women were portrayed as domineering, overly expressive people (Hazel and Clark 9).
  Research also suggests that the media is a major decider in what crime cases get chosen to air on the news. While it was previously thought that what went on the news was arbitrarily picked or based on the most interesting cases, it turns out that it is not quite the case. J...

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... Children in National News Coverage: Racial and Gender Representations of Missing Children Cases." 27.3 (2010): 207-216. Web. 5 Nov 2013.
Rudolph, Alexander Jr. Racism, African Americans and Social Justice. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005. 71. Print.
Stein, Sarah Land. "The Cultural Complex of Innocence: An Examination of Media and Social Construction of Missing White Woman Syndrome." Order No. 3530740 The University of Southern Mississippi, 2012. Ann Arbor: ProQuest.Web. 5 Nov. 2013.
Vanessa Hazell and Juanne Clarke. “Race and Gender in the Media: A Content Analysis of Advertisements in Two Mainstream Black Magazines.” Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Sep., 2008), pp. 5-21
Wade, Lisa. ""Missing White Woman Syndrome" and Fear of Crime." NSC School of LIberal Arts and Sciences, 23 Aug 2011. Web. 5 Nov 2013.

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