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  • Shelby Mitchell

Missing Children in the Media

It first starts with a buzz from your IPhone. “Amber alert”. There is a missing child. We don’t think about the goal of why some children get more media coverage than others. In Etan Patz’s case, there could have been another motive for the news.


In the Podcast, Disappearances by Parcast, Etan Patz was a six-year-old boy who had gone missing in New York City in the 1970s.

Why did the media choose him?



We realize this was the 70s and New York city was around 10 billion dollars in debt.

Rape and burglaries have also skyrocketed in numbers.


During this time, news media outlets were very scarce on news. New York was considered the “city of fear”.

After their house was cluttered with investigators, Etan’s parents were hesitant about going to the press. The people working on his case encouraged them to reach out.

Soon after, Etan’s face was plastered all over the city. His blonde hair and blue eyes were on the side of skyscraping buildings. Now, the FBI, top investigators, and the American legislators were on top of this case.



After his disappearance, there was a national obsession with missing children. You could see his face on every milk carton across the country.


However, why aren’t cases like Phoenix Coldon, a black woman who went missing, being heavily covered like Etan Patz or the more recently Gabby Petito case?


Phoenix Colden’s parents had to fight for her to get airtime. Why?


It’s called missing white woman syndrome. This is an obsession by the media to air “endangered or missing white women and they completely ignore the missing women and children of color.

“Eight percent of all children missing in America are black yet their stories are far less likely to be told,” stated in Disappearances.


Since 1985, most Americans have seen Etan Patz face from media coverage.



It just doesn’t make sense.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.


#missingchildren #disappearancepodcast #gabbypetito



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