Friday, July 27, 2007

The Media Missing the Big Picture

As I have extensively followed on this blog, a New York Police Department officer named Fred Maselli murdered his girlfriend, Shirley Fontanez, and then killed himself in a selfish act that some have speculated was done to cover up a check-cashing scheme that he allegedly masterminded. The overwhelming moral of the story is the overall preventability of this tragedy. When Maselli and Fontanez began dating the girl was 16 years old to Maselli's 40. Fellow officers of the troubled cop were aware of the illicit relationship. Maselli had made plans to kill an earlier girlfriend and then himself, but could not muster up the cowardice needed to finish the act. Instead he jotted down some notes about killing the woman's other boyfriend at the time. Now the po-po are looking into whether any of the unsolved murders in the city are related to Maselli's former girlfriend. In other words, the 34th Precinct is a fucking mess.

Around the same time as this massive abuse of power and unbelievable ignorance of Washington Heights cops, an innocent family in Cheshire, Connecticut were murdered in a home invasion that ended with the arson of the house. Only the father, prominent endocrinologist (CNN's words, not mine) Dr. William Petit, Jr., 50, survived after suffering a beating from the two parolees who committed the heinous acts. It is a very sad story, as the wife of Dr. Petit was strangled by the men and his two daughters died of smoke inhalation from the fire the two ex-cons set. A sad story from top to bottom.

In case it wouldn't be painfully obvious to you which story has recieved more media attention, let me help you out. It is not the story involving a poor Latina from the Bronx who got mixed up with a deranged cop. It is the story involving the rich, white family from a well-to-do suburb in Connecticut. The problem with this is the fact that the story about Maselli and Fontanez could have easily been prevented (see my previous post on this topic). There were so many missed opportunities. The Connecticut story, while tragic, is about a random act of violence that had much less opportunity to be prevented. The only preventability of that story lies in Connecticut's failed parole system, but as I have written about in the past, this country's correctional system is in shambles. What this boils down to is the fact that the media, particularly CNN (and I'm using CNN as a sample here because it is what I read for national news, but from what I understand the other national media outlets are similar) has run some aspect of the Connecticut story six times between Monday July 23 and today, Friday July 27. It has not run any story mentioning the name "Maselli" once at all, not even just this week. This follows a trend that I have noticed in the news media: if the story involves minority/poor victims and the ill deeds of police officers or those in power in our society (minus heads of state), it will often recieve substantially less coverage than a story involving white/rich victims and the ill deeds of minorities or ex-convicts. This is just one example in a society laden with classism and racism that is further perpetuated by the media's direct or, in this case, indirect actions. Peace.

Photo - A stack of newspapers in my representation of mass media (

1 comment:

  1. Why isnt there picture's of the DIABOLIC of fred messalli? Shirley fontanez was one of my closest friends, we even lived together, she was the most caring and sweet person i ever met in my life we went through bad and good times together, i want justice for her!! therefore Fu*k fred masselli! I hope his picture comes out in the press and his family would be ashamed of him. He had no apperant reason to kill her the way he did. If anything he was the one enjoying the money that she stold, buying his new car,buying a 6,000 rolex, ipods, and paying childsupport for his TWO kids.! I hope and know he is BURNING IN HELL!!! He destroyed her PHYSICALLY,MENTALLY,EMOTIONALLY, AND TOOK HER LIFE! FU*KING SELFISH AS*HOLE!! TILL THIS DAY HER DEATH HURTS ME, AND WILL ALWAYS......I WILL ALWAYS HAVE HER IN MIND, EVERY MOMENT REMINISING HER BEAUTIFUL SMILE SHE HAD. I FEEL SO MUCH HATE FOR FRED MASELLI. THANK GOD HE SHOT HIMSELF ALSO, BECAUSE RIGHTNOW HE WOULD'VE BEEN DEAD ANYWAYS.! I WANT JUSTICE FOR SHIRLEY FONTANEZ!