James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Where the dead white girls are

Posted by James McPherson on April 1, 2009

There are five things you can almost guarantee about a missing person who becomes a lead story in the news, with Sandra Cantu providing the latest example.

First, unless it’s an extremely bizarre case, the victim will be female. We worry a lot more about women and girls than we do about men and boys, and we are more “entertained” by crime against females. Watch a few episodes of almost any fictional crime show on television, and it will quickly become obvious that our crime coverage mirrors far too much of our fictional entertainment.

Second, the victim will be young: perhap a girl, perhaps a young woman, but not middle-aged or elderly. By the way, this makes Nancy Grace an even bigger freak than she would be anyway, because she so widely publicizing the antics of her own twins at the same time that she’s scaring people all over America about what might happen to their own kids.

Third, the victim will be white.

Fourth, the she’ll be attractive in a traditional white-American sense–the type who makes grandmothers say she was “so cute” or “so pretty.”

Fifth, when the victim’s body turns up–and, sadly, they rarely seem to come back alive–she’ll be no more dead than 25,000 or so other children who died the same day.

Of course, almost none of us will ever know the names of all those other children, and Grace won’t be screeching for justice on their behalf. Another difference is that almost all of those other deaths were more preventable by society as a whole than are the random killings of pretty white girls that the media glorify so much.

20 Responses to “Where the dead white girls are”

  1. michellefrommadison said

    It’s funny James, that those twins that she talks about so much are not even any relation to Nancy’s actual husband she was forced to marry after Nancy helped to end the life of Melinda Duckett. And, neither of twin-kids actually has the same father. It’s a long story, but Nancy is still not allowed, by court-order, to be alone with either of those twin kids while unsupervised (due in-part to her documented alcoholism problems).When I see the pictures of those kids, I see tell-tale signs of abuse and fear in their eyes. Many experts have long predicted that both of those twins will attempt to run away from home as soon as they can reach the doorknobs. Nancy has even admitted to abusing the little boy-tot when she threw him off the bed and onto the hardwood floor onto his head, which was so severe, it required hospital intervention. But, enough about Nancy’s documented alcoholism and drug-addiction problems, she is a menace to society and a Predator against real victims of crimes. Since Nancy was never a victim of any crime in her life, she remains clue-less to the damage she continues to impart upon real victims of crimes.

  2. pak31 said

    I can’t back up your claims of abuse or that her children aren’t her husbands’, if he maybe didn’t “create” them he’s the only father they have. If what you are saying about her is true, then that is scary but I have not heard that much info before. Anyway, the only thing I don’t get and never will is people who claim that Nancy Grace ended Melinda’s life. She(Melinda) did that all by herself. So NG asked her some very direct questions, so what? Do you think police were less harsh with her? I highly doubt it. She was backed into a corner and she took a wimpy way out. No one forced her to be in that interview and if she was upset that NG asked her something she couuld have just hung up the phone. I heard that interview, and Melinda Duckett WAS dodging NG’s questions. So when NG asked her why she wasn’t answering her questions I felt that was legit. If she had nothing to hide and telling the absolute truth, she would have answered the questions. This woman blows her self away because of a couple of quesitons? Makes no sense at all. If my son was kidnapped, I would want to find him, so instead she leaves him out there somewhere and then kills herself. I just can’t find a lot of sympathy for her. Sorry for the rant, if there is more to that NG/Melinda thing, let me know but I still, to this day, can’t see how NG helped kill MD.
    P.S. I want to clarify that I am NOT, repeat, NOT a Nancy G. fan by any means. She is a bit freaky and rude but I wouldn’t be afraid of her.

  3. pak31 said

    p.s. DIdn’t Melinda refuse a polygraph, wouldn’t cooperate with LE, and threw Trentons’ stuff away??

  4. pak31 said

    One last thing. Sorry. Melinda hacked into Josh’s MySpace and wrote threatening messages to herself. She threatened Josh in the past, on record, to harm Trenton. None of this behavior is normal or indicative of a grieving mother.

  5. James McPherson said

    Thanks, both of you. I know next to nothing of Grace’s twins and little about the Duckett case, so I won’t agree with or contradict either of you. My complaints about Grace stem from the fact that she is the most obvious and shrill example of how we glorify dead and missing white girls in our culture. We tend to ignore other victims, while giving an unrealistic and overly scary picture of the dangers our wives and daughters face.

    Unlike R-rated “torture porn” films now popular or much of primetime television, Grace also appears on a “news” network, which therefore brings a sheen of respectability to what she does. I’d have more respect for CNN if they’d give her the boot and let her join fellow pseudo-news wackjob Glenn Beck at Fox.

  6. Gabrielle said

    Oh, God, THAT Grace o.o

    I wasn’t sure who you were talking about until I read the comments… There’s a great article somewhere in Times Magazine that Daniel Walters sent me through Facebook Chat about hackers and 4chan and other webfreakery, if anyone is curious. I’ll try to find a link, I’m not optimistic though xD too much interesting stuff on Time Magazine, I get distracted HELLA fast…

  7. michellefrommadison said

    Is pak31 looking for clarification on the Duckett issue, because everthing she just stated is absolutely incorrect. 🙂

  8. Gabrielle said

    Found the links! Two, actually – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html

  9. […] thing we do know: With a faltering economy and a culture that glorifies violence, many more such killings will come. Especially if people are “not surprised” that a […]

  10. ZELDA said


  11. ZELDA said

    Another note about Nancy Grace…….she just plain sucks! She is inflammatory…..rude….controlling………loud…………..egoistic…….and in the final take..,passe’.
    She “thrives” off sensationalism ” for personal gain.That term “tot mom” just gags me.
    To comment on a previous blogger about her kids,………wow what a goofy scary mom she must be. Those twins are probably practicing the goose step as we speak.


  12. e sims said

    nancy grace yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuukkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk gag me

  13. michellefrommadison said

    Exactly correct Zelda,and some even say that when a child is murdered, Nancy Grace has an orgasm. 🙂

  14. michellefrommadison said

    Is Nancy Grace is jail yet charged with crimes against real victims yet?

  15. […] Where the dead white girls are […]

  16. […] By the way, if you didn’t notice the anniversaries of the war on drugs or the  Pentagon Papers, don’t feel bad. Other than a bit of coverage of the Seven GOP dwarves, most of this weeks cable news coverage was about Anthony Weiner and Caylee Anthony, a case involving another dead white girl. […]

  17. […] love our guns. We really love our guns. If the shooting of a Congresswoman and the killing a a cute white girl or the slaughter of college students won’t spur a serious debate about American gun laws, […]

  18. […] Rape happens here. On college campuses, even Christian college campuses. At high schools, in churches, and sometimes even on the street (though not as often there as the media might lead you to believe). […]

  19. […] on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC was one that told us nothing new of importance about a the death of a cute white girl who was murdered 14 years ago. Oh, and by the way: Since the death of Jon Benet Ramsey, more than […]

  20. […] commenting on issues of race or gender.  (Examples on race can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Examples relevant to gender here, here, here, here, here, […]

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