Just weeks after returning to the air after a troublesome on-air incident led to an indefinite leave “to focus on his health,” an Oakland, Calif., based newscaster has been suspended indefinitely for a disagreement with station management over coverage of the Gabby Petito homicide case.
KTVU news anchor Frank Somerville, the adoptive father of a black teen daughter, reportedly wanted to draw attention to the disproportionate level of media coverage devoted to the story when comparing it to the coverage of similar cases involving women of color and Indigenous people.
Citing sources at the Fox affiliate, Mercury News reported that the spat over coverage came after Petito’s body was discovered in Wyoming. The 22-year-old was reported missing earlier this month while on a cross-country camping trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie. According to the sources, Somerville wanted to include a less-than-30-second sidebar to point out that the U.S. media largely ignores similar cases involving minorities — what has come to be coined by the left as “missing white woman syndrome” — but was told that would be “inappropriate.”
Leading the “missing white woman syndrome” charge is MSNBC’s race-obsessed pseudo-journalist Joy Reid, who is often called the “angry race lady” by Fox News host Tucker Carlson for her frequent racist on-air tirades.
Before Petito’s body was located, Reid said: “It goes without saying that no family should ever have to endure that kind of pain. And the Petito family certainly deserves answers and justice. But the way this story has captivated the nation has many wondering, why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?”
“Well, the answer actually has a name: Missing White woman syndrome. The term coined by the late and great Gwen Iffil to describe the media and public fascination with missing white women like Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway while ignoring cases involving missing people of color,” she added.
Never mind that in addition to a search for Petito sparking a nationwide media frenzy, there was also an ongoing manhunt for Laundrie, who had suddenly disappeared after returning home alone to Florida from the trip out west.
Of course, a quick perusal of Reid’s primetime cable news show would show that she may be one of the worst offenders when it comes to ignoring the plight of missing women of color.
As for Somerville, while it’s not known how heated the argument was, the sources cited by Mercury News said he was informed by station management the next day that he was being suspended.
For the second time this year, he has been taken off the air. During a May 30 broadcast, Somerville repeatedly slurred and stumbled over his words and seemed to struggle with reading from the teleprompter. A Fox spokesperson announced a couple of days later that Somerville would take an indefinite leave of absence to “focus on his health,” Mercury News reported.
Off the air for more than nine weeks, he returned in August without addressing his unusual absence, and KTVU has not spoken publicly about the issue.
For what it’s worth, KTVU published a story on the issue on its website, titled “Gabby Petito Case Renews Call to Spotlight Missing People of Color,” and pushed it online:
Many advocates for missing people of color question why the public spotlight that is so important to finding people seems at times to attach more value to white people, and white women in particular. https://t.co/imSdfrNtcz
— KTVU (@KTVU) September 26, 2021
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