ABC co-anchor T.J. Holmes said Wednesday on “Good Morning America” that the media’s coverage of Gabby Petito is “perpetuating the idea that some lives matter more” than Black lives.
Holmes said, “There are some names that become a household name, Lacey Peterson, Natalee Holloway, Elizabeth Smart, Gabby Petito. There are others like Kierra Coles names like Jelani Day names like Daniel Robinson. Why don’t you know those names? Those are people of color who’ve gone missing that didn’t get the same media attention. And a lot of people online are taking advantage of this moment to not just highlight other cases but also highlight the disparity in the media’s coverage of them.”
He continued, “Here’s the despairing truth, Gabby Petito is one of so many reported missing each year. At the end of 2020, the FBI had over 89,000 active missing persons cases, 45% of those cases, people of color. Petito’s story has renewed debate about which cases get attention and the media’s seeming infatuation with missing white women, but her case also sparked a call to action to bring others home. Like Daniel Robinson, a 24-year-old geologist who went missing in the desert outside Buckeye, Arizona, in late June.”
Homes added, “It’s important this is not an either/or situation. You can still say that the Petito story is worthy. It should make headlines. You can feel for her family but at the same time say these other stories about minorities missing are important to highlight as well. We went through summer last year, Black Lives Matter. That had to do with equity and police treatment of African-Americans. But this same idea of Black Lives Matter is important in all of our responsibility as media coverage. When you highlight certain stories of certain people and not others, you’re perpetuating the idea that some lives matter more, and this is why this conversation is important to have.”
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