July 10, 2008

Remembering Michelle

Posted: 02:08 PM ET

NEW YORK - I am going to say something because it needs saying. It’s not going to win me any popularity contests but I’m not here to be popular.

I’m here to tell the truth. And the truth is that as tragic as Michelle Gardner-Quinn’s death is, she is not the only woman to be murdered in Vermont last year. And Natalie Holloway, well she’s not the only woman missing in the Caribbean. Laci Peterson was far from the only pregnant woman killed in California. Chandra Levy, Taylor Behl and the list goes on. Tragedies to be sure. But also part of something called the missing white woman syndrome.

I’m not making it up. Just Google it or even go to Wikipedia. It’s the term they use to describe disproportionate media coverage of white female crime victims. The essential element of the syndrome is gender, race, attractiveness, and age. We all respond to the damsel in distress. We all love a good fairy tale. But these aren’t fairy tales. This is real life.

So when we remember Michelle let’s also remember all the other women who lost their lives. Those whose names we may never hear. And that’s the Last Word.

–Jami Floyd, In Session anchor

Filed under: Uncategorized

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Joseph Overmann   July 10th, 2008 2:46 pm ET

"We all respond to the damsel in distress"
I could not be in any more agreement. And its for that reason I am happy to see these issues get publicity. Exsposing these horrific crimes to the public will highten awareness, decrease tolerance and compassion for those commiting violnt acts. A cage fighting sailor gets killed, people are going to assume he probley initiated the conflict, but a sweet young college girl with a good head on her shoulders well you said it. "We all respond to the damsel in distress"

Leslie Tufts   July 10th, 2008 2:47 pm ET

Dear Jack Ford – Please, while you are reporting on the murder case of Michelle Gardner-Quinn on the program "In Session"- please do not call her Michelle Gardner Smith as you have numerous times. Those of us from the UVM community would like for you all to respect the life of Michelle. Please, at the very least – read your notes on this case to see who you are covering. Thank you. 7/10/08.

joaquin a. phoenix   July 10th, 2008 2:52 pm ET

We once again are very disappointed about the way you cover a trial. We put courtv on in order to listen to court cases, when it starts to get good, u go to commercials, or have trivial comments from your guests, which is absolutely not necessary. How long do you show a session of court in "In Session" as your title says? It is only minutes. Is there any way that while In Session is on that u can show what is going on in the court room and nothing else, and please cut down on those commercials. It is a bit ridiculous, dont you think?/

Dianne   July 10th, 2008 2:57 pm ET

I think that is right on. unfortunately, so many die and lets honor those lives as well. I think you have said nothing wrong!

Harry Bassett   July 10th, 2008 3:14 pm ET

I agree with you,however you are in a position to do something about it .Instead of using your "Last Word " as you so often do to point out things that you think are racist ,why don't you take the time to feature a case of a missing or murdered person that you are referring to on your program,after all as the saying goes if you are not part of a solution ,you are part of the problem.

You are in a position to make a difference ,you are part of the media that ignores the cases that you are talking about,start the ball rolling and you may be surprised at just how far it will go.


Donald Ragan   July 10th, 2008 3:16 pm ET


leslie kieltyka   July 10th, 2008 3:17 pm ET

Im white and I could not agree with you MORE.

Ofelia Posada   July 10th, 2008 4:11 pm ET

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have had the same thought for the longest time. Why is it that we rarely hear of a black, hispanic, chinese or japenese missing woman? Race plays alot in this case. Nancy Grace is another one that rarely mentions a missng person a different color other than white.

Thank you for sending this message out to folks

samocop   July 10th, 2008 4:34 pm ET

Jamie I agree completely. I sometimes wonder if anyone would look for me if I was missing, a pregnant overweight, 30 something woman. Very sad, it also includes missing and murdered children Elizabeth Smart and Jonbenet Ramsay.

Julie   July 10th, 2008 6:40 pm ET

Amen,well said. Thanks for having the courage to speak the truth.

Greg Stitz   July 10th, 2008 6:41 pm ET


Furthermore, this disparity is part of what is turning people off of the "mainstream media". We know there are stories about young Hispanic and African American women that are being ignored in favor of "the pretty white girl" stories and we're fed up.

hank shaw   July 10th, 2008 8:05 pm ET

Why do you have to post such racial garbage?? . Did you know that Laci Peterson was Hispanic/?? Does that make her any less or any more of a victim?

Lisa Hamilton   July 10th, 2008 11:03 pm ET

As usual, you are so articulate and bright...but as usual, I disagree with you. While some of what you say may be valid, do not forget that all these slain girls' parents were incredible advocates for their daughters – in their search, and after being FOUND murdered (or not). Do you think the public would remeber the name " Natalee" (not Nartalie) if Beth Holloway had not spent every waking moment trying to find justice for her child? Sure, she is white, probably wealthy, and well-educated, but she could have opted for privacy so she could carry on with her divorce from Mr. Twitty, or gotten her nails done everyday to calm her nerves. No, not this gal! She braved a ferocious battle against a foreign, corrupt government who did not care about justice until Beth Holloway stuck their noses in it and made them sniff!

Taylor's Mom, Janet, also was such an advocate and fought University police who dragged their heels about turning over the investigation to state and federal authorities. She has now written a beautiful memoir, "Love You More" that naturally draws attention to her daugher's death.

Allowing to televise court cases in various states may also play a role in which get long-lasting media attention. But, playing the "racist card" instead of appreciating these cases as examples of why we must work harder to keep all our daughers safe – regardless of color – is switching the importance of what needs to be learned and gained from these senseless and evil slayings.

Jamie, being white and privileged can work against an individual as well. In Spring of 2003, the "Powder Puff" scandal of Glenbrook North High School (Norhtbrook, IL – suburb of Chicago) was national and international news after juniors and seniors were caught on video and accused and later charged with hazing, assault, and battery. Quickly thereafter, School Board, and the entire Northbrook community was given quite a media ripping for letting something like this happen in such a priveleged, white community. Simaltaneoudsly, there were nine kids shot in Rosemont at a local, multi-racial high school. While the acts comitted and the kids murdered were achknowledged and mourned, the community and local PTA waws not slaughtered in the media. So, being "white" – and God forbid -educated and self-sufficient can cut both ways when it comes to getting media attention.

florrie   July 10th, 2008 11:28 pm ET

Thanks for the information and making the case-someone needs to. Something horrible is indeed happening and young women need to be educated and prepared to better anticipate and defend themselves given the realities of avoiding the dangers out there.

Catherine Levine   July 11th, 2008 12:49 am ET

It is so sad that some lives are deemed more important than others.

The color of the skin, along with the status and connections of the family members, should not determine the coverage of a case.

Ilsa Watson   July 11th, 2008 9:08 am ET

Hey Jami Floyd, You are sooooo corrected!! And Iam a white female.
Ilsa Watson

Lou M.   July 11th, 2008 10:45 am ET

Amen, Jaimi

Cynthia C   July 11th, 2008 11:08 am ET

AMEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JAMI

Every life has the same value!!

Joyce Jones   July 11th, 2008 11:43 am ET

I agree with you

Jodi Moss   July 13th, 2008 12:28 am ET

I completely agree Jami and I also completely respect that you speak your mind and your opinions in such a tactful but truthful manner and yet are not accused of being harsh or brash.

Murders like these go on every day to women of other races. Yet, they are barely reported. Moreover, if they are reported on the news, do they get the unprecedented and sometimes obscene amount of coverage as a low-life, white trash, money hungry, bottom feeder such as Anna Nicole Smith? No way. I am guilty of watching those precedings only because of the legal wranglings that ensued following her death. Up to that point, she had not earned one moment of my time.

I am relieved to know that women like you and the other strong, intelligent, outspoken, well-spoken women on Tru TV are what truly represent American women today, not ones like her.

How in the world to we display a fairness in journalism to similar heinous crimes to Hispanic, African American, Indian or any other nationality or color than white?

Good for you and I completely support you and the other women on Tru TV that report so eloquenlty facts of each case they cover.

Barbara Moore   July 14th, 2008 10:23 am ET


I love your show and I just want to add your last word on Thursday was absolute and very truthful. I watch your show all of the time and your last word is always very effective but on Thursday it was more effective than ever. Keep up the good work and continue to choose truth over popularity because the turth is nothing but the truth.

SISCO SISTRUNK   July 15th, 2008 2:29 pm ET


LindaS   July 15th, 2008 10:31 pm ET

You know Jaime, it seems that you spend an awful ot of time looking at victims' skin color. Until every single one of us, including Jaime Floyd, stops looking at color and start looking at the crime and its aftermath, the so-called "syndrome" will continue. Funny, where I live the only victims we hear about are hispanic. Oh, except the Vincent Brothers case. A true family tragedy.

Debi D   July 16th, 2008 3:10 pm ET

Thank you for saying what may people are thinking. It is terribly sad to see the horror of society on new and in the court system, but the public needs to remember that for every woman on the news, there are 10 women that are killed or injured whose family will never see a news reporter at their door to declare the horror and devistation they are facing. Thank you again for having the backbone to say so.

bonnie   July 29th, 2008 11:48 am ET

I feel that this man should not be put to death. It would be a far greater sentance to be in jail for life without parole and each day will have to be spent contemplating his actions. Thank you

Seronica   August 1st, 2008 7:22 pm ET

I could not agree more! We need more diversity in the news!

Laura   November 5th, 2008 11:55 am ET

COULD some one tell me when phil specters retrail is to begin

PLEASE let me know

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