To the Point with Michael Hogan

Michael Hogan

There is this picture I’ve been seeing on the news for months now. A little blonde haired girl with a distinguishing mark in her right eye has been burned into my mind, and the minds of the entire news gathering world, over the past five months.

Her name is Madeleine McCann. She is the four-year-old British girl who went missing from a villa in the Portuguese vacation resort of Praia da Luz on May 3. She is adorable, sure. And she is missing, no doubt that is a tragedy. But, why Madeleine?

With more than 400 children currently missing here in the United States alone, why is so much worldwide attention focused on this one little girl?

Why not Diamond Bradley?

Wait, you’ve never heard of Diamond Bradley? Well, that doesn’t really shock me too much. I had never heard of her before either. You see, Diamond Bradley didn’t receive the same round the clock coverage that little Madeleine McCann has.

Diamond disappeared six years ago. So, of course, Madeleine, who only disappeared five months ago, is on the news more now. But, that is not the point. The amount of time gone by makes no difference. The tragedy lies in disparity of the initial amount of coverage. At the time of her disappearance Diamond Bradley received local coverage, even some national coverage (being featured on America’s Most Wanted). But, the coverage didn’t stretch across the Atlantic as Madeleine’s has. Six years ago people in Florence weren’t following the plight of Diamond Bradley, while today people in Boise are following Madeleine’s case step by step.

On July 6, 2001 Diamond, three years old at the time, and her ten-year-old sister Tionda disappeared from their south side Chicago neighborhood. These two little black girls have been missing for the past six years, yet you’ve likely never heard of them.

Diamond Bradley is not a little blonde haired white girl. Her parents don’t take vacations in Portuguese villas. Madeleine McCann has both of those things going for her.

Both little girls have the same kind of smile that can capture the heart. Both little girls had barely begun to live their lives. But, only one little girl has had the privilege of nonstop media coverage.

Now, I am not trying to defame Madeleine at all. I think it is horrible that she is missing and I think we should do everything possible to find her. But, I do not think she has any more international societal value than Diamond Bradley does, or any of the hundreds of other missing kids who you and I have never heard of.

Am I going to be inflammatory and say call the international news media racist? Sure, to some degree, but that is not the whole of the problem, only part. I will call them elitist though. I think that it has less to do with the fact that Diamond Bradley is black and Madeleine McCann is white, although that of course, is a component. But, the fact that Diamond Bradley came from a family with a single, working mother in a tough Chicago neighborhood is the other component. She didn’t live in a nice house with a white picket fence, she didn’t stay in villas.

If Diamond Bradley had disappeared from some ocean front home in Ibiza, then perhaps you would’ve heard of her, despite the color of her skin. It is not racial prejudice that makes the news media focus on reporting specific events. It is greed and the power of the all mighty dollar.

So, yes, let’s find Madeleine. But, let’s also find Diamond Bradley and all of the other children who have disappeared while we are at it. After all, they are all missing. And, they are all children.