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View Full Version : Why isn't this case getting as much publicity as Elizabeth Smart?


sahm629
07-08-2010, 11:30 PM
It seems like Elizabeth Smart was getting aLOT of coverage while she was missing.

Yet this little boy isn't getting hardly any. I only found out about it because I picked up a people magazine at the library and then searched online. I haven't seen anything else about it, except for the people magazine.

I live in the TX. I remember hearing the Elizabeth Smart case all over.

I know there's other cases that don't get any coverage. For example a little 2 year old girl went missing from a bowling alley in Washington in 1998, I was living there at the time. She got alot of local coverage but really no national coverage at all. I've searched online for her and there is still no leads in the case, no idea what happened. Such a sad story. Her name was Teekah Lewis.

Kat
07-08-2010, 11:39 PM
IMHO Kyron is getting a lion's share of coverage.

just an example:

Missing Persons Information and Support - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community

Hundreds of missing children and adults where there is little to no media coverage.

Missing!! - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community

Literally thousands of missing children and adults that have little to no media coverage.

JMHO.

gibby207
07-09-2010, 12:24 AM
It seems like Elizabeth Smart was getting aLOT of coverage while she was missing.

Yet this little boy isn't getting hardly any. I only found out about it because I picked up a people magazine at the library and then searched online. I haven't seen anything else about it, except for the people magazine.

I live in the TX. I remember hearing the Elizabeth Smart case all over.

I know there's other cases that don't get any coverage. For example a little 2 year old girl went missing from a bowling alley in Washington in 1998, I was living there at the time. She got alot of local coverage but really no national coverage at all. I've searched online for her and there is still no leads in the case, no idea what happened. Such a sad story. Her name was Teekah Lewis.

I think about Teekah Lewis all the time, and it's a shame why there wasn't more coverage about her. :( There's not much on WS about her as well. (sigh) I don't want to say race had anything to do with it, although one could gather those feelings/thoughts. I guess I don't want to believe it. :( As far as Kyron? I dunno why media picks and chooses the missing and who they cover. There are more out there missing that need help. I think every child needs to be found, and there's just not enough, not enough, not ever enough. :(

scandi
07-09-2010, 01:18 AM
Over the years we have wondered the same thing, comparing Elizabeth's strong media coverage compared to cases we are studying at the time.

I think it's partially because Elizabeth's case opened up a new era in the crime of missing children in America. There have always been child abductions, a few of which did capture their share of media coverage due to the status or wealth of the family involved. Thinking of the Lindberg baby and then of course little Jon Benet.

But the unbelievability of this crime grabbed America by it's heart, the audacity a child could be stolen from her bed and vanishing in the blink of an eye. That, plus everyone just fell in love with her. Everyone related to her in their own way as she was so beautiful and the family so strident in their faith and all in all garnered respect. America lived and breathed Elizabeth every day she was missing from what I saw. We even wrote mails to the PD thinking they were doing nothing. We were passionate !

Then we went through a plague of national murders of women and children and each one was of note to us to where many of us wondered if this was a new phenom in the world of crime ~ the desecration of our children and why so many and how to stop it.


I feel that same way now about Kyron. To me he is a spectacular child with an inquisitive mind who one day will accomplish great things in life. Like every child, any imperfection he has will work it's way out as he gets older. And he will be a very dashing young man IMO, as promise fulfills what he will be. And he will be able to use humor in everything he does.

That is why I so hope he is alive. He is adorable right now and will be a man of distinction as a grown up IMO.

cluciano63
07-09-2010, 01:24 AM
I think it was because Elizabeth's case was the first in the new media arena of cable news...not because it was a new era of more crime. There have always been abductions and killings of children...we just did not hear about them because there was no national media.

xin
07-09-2010, 02:13 AM
Because of the Mormon Church, imo.

greenpalm
07-09-2010, 02:19 AM
Because she was a beautiful blond young lady. I also agree that crimes like these are nothing new and that it may have been the dawn of a new era in media coverage. I'm in Texas too, I think Kyron's getting his share. I'm sure that's a hard thing to measure.

WhyaDuck?
07-09-2010, 02:29 AM
Kyron is just one of many missing kids

Other children don’t get same attention as this case

BY JENNIFER ANDERSON
The Portland Tribune, Jul 8, 2010

Years ago, their images were plastered on milk cartons.

Nowadays, missing children’s images are posted on websites, updated with digitally altered photos to show what they would look like five, 10, 20 or more years later.

In Oregon, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children database shows 44 children who’ve gone missing during the past 35 or so years, including several as recently as this past May.

The majority fall into three categories: “endangered runaways,” “parent/family abductions” and others who “may be in the company of an adult male.”

None of them has generated nearly as much of a media frenzy as Kyron Horman, the 7-year-old last seen June 4 at his school in rural Northwest Portland.

Much more at:
http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=127853645861969600

Mrs G Norris
07-09-2010, 02:41 AM
Blonde, blue-eyed, young attractive female.

gwenabob
07-09-2010, 03:02 AM
I think a lot of it also has to do with the unusual circumstances of the abduction. Smart was taken out of her own home like Polly Klass. That jars people. "That could happen to my family!"

Kyron was last seen at school. Again, people identify with that and get a little scared.

I think part of the reason these cases get a lot of attention is he "There but for the grace of God..." factor. We can identify and relate with the innocence of the circumstances and families. Plus, like in this case, lots of people just enjoy train wrecks! We can all see it coming in slow-mo, and we are powerless to change its course.

PorcineGranny
07-09-2010, 04:03 AM
I don't think its quite right to say someone gets coverage because of their looks , race, or religion. I'm just as interested and pray just as hard for Adji Desir to be found as I do Haleigh or Kyron. In my mind, it doesn't matter how someone looks, they feel pain and sorrow like us all.

froginTtown
07-09-2010, 04:10 AM
No offense sahm, but I believe people magazine has been covering this case very heavily.... Not sure on the front cover, but I think it has been said he has been on it twice.. I could be wrong because I read ALOT of articles on line.. and I'm not sure what point you are trying to make by comparing E. Smart against Kyron... All children are precious in our minds... The only difference is in the media, because they will go with whatever sells or keeps their ratings high.. and its sad.. but it is the truth.. I won't return to this thread cuz nearly every WS in here is well aware of this... Thanks for posting...:)

surrogatemom
07-09-2010, 05:03 AM
Blonde, blue-eyed, young attractive female.

Agreed. And while I don't think her family PAID media necessarily, I can't help but think their financial status ($$$) had something to do with it. :waitasec:

That said, all I keep hearing is that Kyron is getting a lot of coverage. I've heard people complaining quite a bit that other kids don't get the coverage Kyron is. But then, I am in Oregon, so maybe that's why I have a different perspective? :)

Hopeful One
07-09-2010, 05:34 AM
I personally think Kyron is getting a lot of coverage. Especially for a boy. Sorry but in general, girls' cases seem to get more coverage.

My husband asked me the other day what type of cases seem to get more coverage compared to others. I couldn't really come up with a good answer. I think certain cases just seem to grab our hearts more than others.

Hopeful One
07-09-2010, 05:37 AM
I don't think its quite right to say someone gets coverage because of their looks , race, or religion. I'm just as interested and pray just as hard for Adji Desir to be found as I do Haleigh or Kyron. In my mind, it doesn't matter how someone looks, they feel pain and sorrow like us all.

I disagree. It seems like (in general - obviously there are exceptions) if it's a cute white girl, she will get more coverage than a black boy. Not that it's right, because it certainly isn't, but that's what sells.

KeyboardCat
07-09-2010, 06:11 AM
I think that if you look at a collection of just the national headlines during a certain time frame, it sort of reflects what was going on in the American subconscious at that time, values, morals, fears.

Elizabeth Smart became a national story and stayed that way because of her circumstances. She was abducted from her own bedroom in front of her little sister while her parents were in the home. They lived in a safe upscale neighborhood. They were wealthy, religious, privileged, and respected. To me, the coverage had a few underlying themes. "No child is safe anywhere, even asleep in their own bed." "How could this happen to such good people?" "If this can happen to this undeserving family, we should all be in fear."

I think Kyron became a national news story because of his family circumstances also, and that a woman seems to be suspected. Look at Caylee Anthony, Gabriel Johnson, Haileigh Cummings, Trenton Duckett, and the Cantu cases. All woman offenders, suspected offenders, or willing participants in crimes against children in their care. To me, it feels like the coverage of these cases is trying to show women can be just as violent with masculine aggression as any male counterpart, and even more so. It is beyond disturbing to hear of a mother hurting a child, the one who mother nature has destined to be weaker, compassionate, nurturing life giver. It is more than a betrayal. It rocks the universe to its core, threatening to unravel it. Add that into the dramatic but relatively common backdrop of a family with maybe too many marriages, divorces, remarriages. Step siblings, step parents, a biological mother who let the father retain custody of the child, a woman body builder who couldn't get rid of the baby weight.... Throw all of that into the pot and what you get is a cover on People magazine.

Its sad, but its true.

Hopeful One
07-09-2010, 06:50 AM
I totally agree, Keyboard Cat! Well said!

Steely Dan
07-09-2010, 07:21 AM
Blonde, blue-eyed, young attractive female.

I don't think its quite right to say someone gets coverage because of their looks , race, or religion. I'm just as interested and pray just as hard for Adji Desir to be found as I do Haleigh or Kyron. In my mind, it doesn't matter how someone looks, they feel pain and sorrow like us all.

I disagree. It seems like (in general - obviously there are exceptions) if it's a cute white girl, she will get more coverage than a black boy. Not that it's right, because it certainly isn't, but that's what sells.

I think it was that way a lot more than it is now. A couple of years ago when this was a hot topic I think the media adjusted and now we see more cases of non pretty white girls being covered.

PG, you care about everybody and I think most do too. The difference in coverage is due to ratings because they pay the bills. A pretty white girl was thought to garner higher ratings IMO. Now that they are covering more diverse cases I'd like to see how that's affected ratings.

azmama
07-09-2010, 07:30 AM
Because of the Mormon Church, imo.

Agreed. And while I don't think her family PAID media necessarily, I can't help but think their financial status ($$$) had something to do with it. :waitasec:

That said, all I keep hearing is that Kyron is getting a lot of coverage. I've heard people complaining quite a bit that other kids don't get the coverage Kyron is. But then, I am in Oregon, so maybe that's why I have a different perspective? :)

I agree with these posts and more!

I think it is
1. Cable tv and 24 hour news cycle
2. Elizabeth Smart's parents were out there (weren't they) in the media?
3. The Mormon church and it's reach are HUGE! Their capability is large for media coverage.
4. The $, circumstances, etc.

I think Kyron is getting a lot of attention, but I look for it, where say someone like my Mom who is interested in crime (and works for the courts) really only follows local stuff, she was almost completely unaware of Casey Anthony during the time it was big news. She has not heard of Kyron.

As an aside, I was in the hospital having my last baby when Elizabeth Smart was found, we were having a tough time because our baby was really sick and I had the TV on when the news broke on her being found, it REALLY lifted my spirits!

I continue to pray for Kyron.

grayjay
07-09-2010, 07:48 AM
I live near where the whole Balloon Boy thing happened, and I saw just one line somewhere and then checked the search engine to learn more. So did many others, and that got metered by the MSM as interest. We got way more than we wanted of it, too, from doing that.

Intel has lots of people who would do that, as well as schoolmates and people in the city who are not satisfied that they've heard the whole story. To some extent, I'm ready to suspect that page hits also contribute to what gets covered.

SleuthyGal
07-09-2010, 07:53 AM
Hmroo?

This case is on the national news, all the morning shows, CNN, CNBC, FOX, etc, with updates often. It's all over the Internet, social networking (like Twitter), not to mention sites like WS.

It's on the radio, there are billboards in Oregon.

I think one would have to avoid all TV and Internet to avoid any knowledge of this story...oh and national publications too.

sahm629
07-09-2010, 09:55 PM
Thx for your response. Yeah, I guess it is still getting alot more coverage than other cases. But I know the Elizabeth Smart case seemed to get so much more coverage, or maybe I just noticed it more?

cluciano63
07-09-2010, 10:06 PM
Elizabeth was a teenager, which made it very unusual, for an abduction of this nature. Also, there was the gossipy speculation at the time about this possibly being some sort of kidnapping in order to force her to marry, some sort of "Big Love" thing before the show ever came on. So the religious aspect was a factor, it gave it extra "juice."

I can't remember too many cases with coast-to-coast coverage that did not involve a white child, personally.

I think that what hurt Kyron's case to some extent, as far as coverage (though he is getting more than most) is that it became apparent fairly early on that LE was focused on Terri. When the audience gets the vibe that it is a family issue, it loses some of the "juice". I think the "blended" family thing did more harm than good...many people that heard parts of that probably figured it was a messed-up family issue (which it may well turn out to be) and the media loves the possibility of a stranger abduction, which strikes fear into hearts and souls everywhere.

Still, with Kaine and Desiree appearing everywhere now, the case is in the national news. Far more than many families can say.

GrainneDhu
07-09-2010, 11:47 PM
I don't think its quite right to say someone gets coverage because of their looks , race, or religion. I'm just as interested and pray just as hard for Adji Desir to be found as I do Haleigh or Kyron. In my mind, it doesn't matter how someone looks, they feel pain and sorrow like us all.

HEAR, HEAR!

And to me, age doesn't matter either. Children are not more precious to me than adults. For instance, I think of my 80 year old mother going missing and I totally freak out. Every human being should have people who love and cherish them. And the ones that don't, that is a special tragedy of its own.

Sadly, there is quite a lot of evidence about who gets media coverage in missing persons cases. Race matters, age matters, looks matter, class matters. Being white, under age 12, attractive and middle class or wealthy helps boost the chances greatly that a given missing person will get media attention:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8233195/
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/opinion/12herbert.html?_r=1&th&emc=th
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/06/17/earlyshow/living/main702549.shtml

Now I gotta go call my mama...

Kat
07-10-2010, 12:07 AM
Another thing I noticed but can't really support it as fact is that it appears that the media will jump on stories also that look like they are going to be scandalous or titillating.

A case that has "shocking" details about it. The more "shocking" details that come out...the more coverage that there is....in a lot of cases not all.

JMHO

cluciano63
07-10-2010, 12:24 AM
Mark Fuhrman's book, "The Murder Business" explains just how the media decides which cases to cover...it is a sick look into modern-day "journalism"...I guess he works for Fox now (which I never watch) so he may be right. He said Caylee was the perfect case for the media and that even though everyone knew that Caylee was dead, the media strung it out as though she was "missing" as that keeps the drama going...that may be why Kyron is getting the coverage he is getting.

Kat
07-10-2010, 12:46 AM
Mark Fuhrman's book, "The Murder Business" explains just how the media decides which cases to cover...it is a sick look into modern-day "journalism"...I guess he works for Fox now (which I never watch) so he may be right. He said Caylee was the perfect case for the media and that even though everyone knew that Caylee was dead, the media strung it out as though she was "missing" as that keeps the drama going...that may be why Kyron is getting the coverage he is getting.

Thanks cluciano I"m going to order that book (I'll check first at the library but I bet they don't have it here).

JLMcKenna83
07-10-2010, 12:52 AM
It seems like Elizabeth Smart was getting aLOT of coverage while she was missing.

Yet this little boy isn't getting hardly any. I only found out about it because I picked up a people magazine at the library and then searched online. I haven't seen anything else about it, except for the people magazine.

I live in the TX. I remember hearing the Elizabeth Smart case all over.

I know there's other cases that don't get any coverage. For example a little 2 year old girl went missing from a bowling alley in Washington in 1998, I was living there at the time. She got alot of local coverage but really no national coverage at all. I've searched online for her and there is still no leads in the case, no idea what happened. Such a sad story. Her name was Teekah Lewis.

I'm sorry and I'm really really not being snarky with this comment, but do you live under a rock? I live in Central, NY and I am seeing tons of coverage for Kyron!

And as far as some kids getting more coverage than others... it also has ALOT to do with the family reaching out to the media... not just their race or class.

chicagofa13
07-10-2010, 02:06 AM
I think this case is getting A LOT of press. Every time I look there is an article, it comes up on the Chicago Tribune even through the wires.

TxLady2
07-10-2010, 08:24 AM
Another thing I noticed but can't really support it as fact is that it appears that the media will jump on stories also that look like they are going to be scandalous or titillating.

A case that has "shocking" details about it. The more "shocking" details that come out...the more coverage that there is....in a lot of cases not all.

JMHO

Exactly! And that is what makes it so sad for other families with missing children. Logically, though, they can't cover every case like this, because there are just too many. The media picks and chooses the ones they will cover and it's always the ones with the most entertainment value.

Astrella613
07-10-2010, 09:13 AM
I think it was two things. First was her religion. A lot of speculation and misunderstanding of that religion especially regarding multiple marriages. Second was her family worked very very hard, especially Ed, to keep her face in the media. Like Kyron's family is starting to do now.

pinkpuddytat
07-13-2010, 04:57 PM
It looks to me like Kyron's case is getting huge media attention. Cover of People magazine, frequent updates on national CNN and Fox News, etc.

Re Elizabeth Smart, it certainly helped that her uncle was already employed as a photographer by one of the two major newspapers in Salt Lake City. This was a family that had an "in-house" media professional on the case within the first couple of hours after she was discovered missing, and he understandably stayed energetically active on the case until (and even after) she was found. Plus this was a girl from a Mormon family in an area with an extremely dense concentration of Mormons. The Mormon church is *extremely* organized and its members have an extremely strong sense of duty to community. Back in the 1980s, they mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers within a few hours, to build a sandbag river through a major Utah city, in time to carry approaching floodwaters through the city more-or-less harmlessly. The local response to Elizabeth's disappearance was a news story in itself.

Another factor was that it was an unusual case of a family with no apparent problems or unwholesome associations, who were doing everything reasonably possible to protect their children, and still had a daughter snatched right out of her bedroom in the middle of the night. In that respect, it was similar to the Polly Klaas case, where she was snatched out of her home during a birthday slumber party with other young girls from non-sketchy backgrounds. Both these cases are the type which make people feel that it really could happen to them, because there was nothing the families could realistically have done to prevent it. Sure, Ed had hired some day laborers of unknown background to work on the house -- though the one ultimately implicated had only worked on the exterior and with Ed present. How many people know the backgrounds of all the workers that do even one day's work on their home? Often a contractor shows up with a "crew", and nobody I know ever insists on proof of identity and background checks on those workers (who are very often illegal immigrants, in many parts of the country).

I don't buy the race explanation, beyond the simple fact that most media outlets disproproportionately cover white people in all matters of both news and fiction, for the simple reason that white people are the dominant economic group in the country, and media outlets all rely advertisers who are seeking exposure to people with spending power (or in the case of a few nonprofits like PBS, are reliant on voluntary donors, most of whom are also white). White people, just like any other ethnic or cultural group, are more interested in stories (news and fiction) about their own kind, than about others. If a Croatian immigrant family that spoke little English had their pretty blond daughter snatched out of her bedroom in a comfortable suburb, I'm sure it would get a whole lot less coverage than Elizabeth Smart did, both because there wouldn't be an English-speaking American media professional in the family or close circle of friends, and because it just wouldn't feel like "us" to the majority of media viewers/readers, including immigrants of other races and languages -- so most media outlets wouldn't rate it as a potentially big traffic generator.

I remember the racism accusations during the Elizabeth Smart coverage, and one particular case of a black child somehow got pushed to the forefront as an "example" of racially disparate coverage of missing children. It didn't strike me as comparable to begin with, because the child had supposedly disappeared while walking a short distance to school as her father (or might have been stepfather) watched, and he was the only person who'd reported seeing her on route to or reaching the school, and thus had been under some suspicion from the start. But the media took the bait anyway, castigated themselves for covering pretty blonde white Elizabeth so heavily, while ignoring the case of this black child, and one of the big three network morning news shows scheduled the parents for an interview, and heavily publicized it . . . and then the parents cancelled at the last minute (I think they offered some flimsy excuse like "legal advice", despite the fact that they been pushing for media coverage for at least a couple of weeks prior), and did not seek to reschedule with this network or any other. Race was clearly not the differentiating factor between this family and the Smarts, who took *every* opportunity to keep Elizabeth's name and face in the media.

pinkpuddytat
07-13-2010, 06:03 PM
Exactly! And that is what makes it so sad for other families with missing children. Logically, though, they can't cover every case like this, because there are just too many. The media picks and chooses the ones they will cover and it's always the ones with the most entertainment value.

If that's the criteria, Kyron's case should soon be getting even more coverage than the large amount it's currently getting. Terri's qualifications as a made-for-tabloid character are becoming more evident with each passing day.

That said, I think it's not just "entertainment" value, in the sense that we normally think of that word, but also any kind of ratings/traffic/sales generator. The case of Rilya Wilson, the little girl in Florida who was discovered missing from her maybe-a-relative foster parent's home many months after the last time anyone (including the maybe-a-relative foster parent) had seen her, got quite a lot of coverage because it was sort of a bombshell story about the mind-boggling incompetence and negligence of the Florida child welfare system (and opened the door to lots of political noise/pseudo-action in Florida, and to somewhat similar evaluations of other states' systems). But "entertainment" wasn't a word I'd be likely to apply to the media coverage of that case.

Rilya was black and at the *very* bottom of the socioeconomic scale, but the story's political implications were very compelling to anyone who has any concern at all for suffering children, and especially to those who are paying large tax bills to support expensive government programs that are supposed to be doing some good for helpless children who have no functional family to care for them. Lots of pretty blonde white adolescent girls who've disappeared in cases that were likely "runaways" induced and assisted by an adult male "boyfriend", have gotten much less coverage than Rilya got. And follow-up mentions of Rilya have continued quite regularly for many years, as Florida and other states are called to task for failures in their child welfare systems.

To a large extent, I think what determines heavy media coverage is how well a case answers the "Can I do anything about it?" question in the minds of media consumers, or the variation "what can I do to make sure it doesn't happen to my child?" question. If there's a plausible answer to the first question -- even it's just "raise he!! with my elected representatives", or have some serious talks with my children about their activities and friends, or figure out how those social networking site thingies work -- there's potential for for heavy consumer interest.

If there's *no* plausible answer to the second question (which is often the case in the "perfect, white, financially secure, home-in-safe-suburb family" stories), that's terrifying to the average media consumer, and thus likely to draw major interest. People want to find out more and more in the hopes that they'll eventually find out that it *couldn't* have happened to them (e.g. the Smarts were secretly in league with polygamists and sold Elizabeth, JonBenet was killed by a pedophile who frequented the kiddie beauty pageants that her mother was constantly entering her in with her father's approval, etc). In other words, the interest is driven by a deep-rooted need to get information that makes the story unterrifying, that enables the consumer to say "Phew! What a relief to know that it really *couldn't* have happened to my child (or grandchild)."

Of course, many cases don't turn out to provide that comforting relief, even when the disappearance is solved, but many do. The Elizabeth Smart story had a very rare resolution, in that it turned out the "perfect family" really was about as perfect as a real family can be, and yet their daughter was still abducted (the key elements of a truly terrifying child abduction story), BUT then she was found basically unscathed and has apparently been thriving ever since -- picked up right where she left off, joined the high school track team she'd been planning to try out for, graduated from high school right on schedule, carried on with her harp studies as if nothing had ever interrupted them, went off to college, etc (Phew! Even if it *did* happen to MY more-or-less perfect family, it would surely work out okay in the end, because that's how it worked out for the Smart family"). And that's a big part of why she *still* gets quite a lot of media attention. That, and her perfect poise in front of a media camera -- if anybody here hasn't seen the video of her interview with the utterly obnoxious Nancy Grace, you've missed a truly awesome "victory lap" by a child abduction/rape survivor.