The Race to Close The Gap on Media Bias Inequality


Qween Edmonds family posted these “missing person” flyers on social media.

Samantha Mateo, Journalist

According to Missing Persons Statistics of 2020 Of the Americans reported missing in 2020, 59% of those people were white and the final 37% were people of color. The disparity in the media is due to the children of minorities being classified as runaways, as well as the missing minority adults associated with criminal activity.

Names like Gabby Petito, Caylee Anthony, and Chelsea King you probably recognize. Names such as Ty’nesha Taylor, David Robinson, and Keeshae Jacobs you might not recognize. This is because the media mainly focused on Petito, Anthony, and King’s case specifically. It is not wrong to care about these missing people, however, it is wrong to focus on their cases entirely. 

It’s not just media coverage that they don’t receive. The police often don’t give as much time to people of color missing because missing minorities are often unjustly stereotyped with criminal involvement such as gangs, and drugs. 

Qween Edmond’s aunt was missing around early September. Her family contacted the police. The police told Edmonds’ family they would keep an eye out, but they never heard anything else.

“My family and I looked for my aunt in Newport News from 7 am to 2 pm, still no hope. The police helped us look for four hours over the span of 10 days,’’ Edmonds said. 

Qween and her family protested at Christopher Newport University, to raise attention to this matter. 

“The police eventually came to us, only to tell us to stop holding up traffic. Not even to ask us why we were protesting,” Queen said.

In a survey of over 100 people from Western Branch, 90% of people said they believe there is media bias in the news. 

According to The Washington Post, in just seven days, Gabby Petito had been mentioned 844 times on a variety of news channels, such as Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. 

“It took 2 weeks of my aunt being missing, just for wavy 10 to put a picture of her out,’’ Edmonds said. 

MSNBC host Joy Reid called the Petito coverage an example of  “missing white woman syndrome,’’ a term coined by Gwen Ifill, which is defined by the heavier media attention white women and girls receive when they go missing compared to anyone outside of those demographics. 

“Why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?” asked Reid. 

It is undeniable that people of color do not receive the same treatment as white people when they go missing. This is sadly because their cases are just not taken as seriously.

“This is real and it is not only happening to my family but others as well. We should not have to sit by and watch our media and police system fail us,” Edmonds said.