How the Media Repeated ‘Missing White Woman Syndrome’ in Petito Case

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“White victims are inclined to be portrayed as staying in pretty protected environments, so it’s stunning that some thing like this could take place, while the Black and Latino victims are portrayed as becoming in unsafe environments, so essentially normalizing victimization,” she reported.

Ms. Slakoff included that there were a quantity of factors folks had been intrigued in Ms. Petito’s case. The highway trip was documented by Ms. Petito on social media, giving glimpses into her lifetime. Men and women wanted to sense that they had been element of the story by helping to solve her disappearance and were connecting with other individuals by tracking what was occurring and buying and selling details. But the amount of money of coverage threatened to turn the situation into “entertainment,” she added.

“I do not think we can price reduction the financial gain motive and the fact that, historically, these varieties of tales have gotten tons of engagement, viewers and clicks,” Ms. Slakoff stated. “So I do assume it could be argued that it is variety of this vicious cycle.”

Stewart Coles, a postdoctoral researcher in the College of Illinois’s communications division, said the community curiosity in Ms. Petito’s case experienced assisted generate the media protection, but did not account for all of it.

“We have to look at how occasionally possibilities about what tales are read through and what we know are based on what gatekeepers in the media market believe that people today want to know about,” he said. “And if individuals people think that people today are extra interested in a lacking white woman, they are heading to give us facts on missing white girls.”

On Twitter last Thursday, Hakeem Jefferson, an assistant professor of political science at Stanford College, was vital of a Washington Put up write-up that described Ms. Petito as a “blue-eyed, blonde experience-seeker.” He pointed out that those details had been not pertinent to the story and “unnecessarily racializes the missing human being from the bounce.”

“Journalists need to be much more thorough in their coverage of these scenarios, lest they perpetuate an now unequal visibility landscape for victims who do not in shape the mould,” Mr. Jefferson explained in an interview.