MSNBC host Joy Reid racialized the probable homicide of Gabby Petito when she bemoaned Monday the national media attention — including on MSNBC — that Petito's case has generated since the 22-year-old was reported missing earlier this month.
What did Reid say?
The MSNBC host conceded on her show, "The ReidOut," that Petito's family deserved "answers and justice," but suggested Petito's case generated national media attention only because she was a young white woman.
"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," Reid said. "But the way this story has captivated the nation has many wondering, why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?"
Reid, in fact, even referred to the purported racial phenomenon as "missing white woman syndrome."
"Well, the answer actually has a name: Missing White Woman Syndrome," Reid continued. "The term coined by the late and great Gwen Ifill 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."
What's this really about?
Contrary to Reid's assertion, Petito's case has gripped the nation not because of her race but because of the extremely odd nature of the case.
The fact that Petito's fiancé Brian Laundrie, for example, returned to his Florida home without Petito nearly two weeks before she was reported missing and the fact that Petito chronicled the couple's adventures on social media are driving national interest in the case.
What makes the case even more odd is the encounter Petito and Laundrie had with Utah law enforcement last month after an anonymous 911 caller alerted police to a potential domestic violence situation between the couple. The National Park Service parks ranger who responded to the incident now says that she warned Petito about "toxic" signs in her relationship.
Magnifying interest in the case are the mysterious whereabouts of Laundrie himself. Not only did he refuse to speak with law enforcement, which was his right, but the 23-year-old has been missing for a week. Police are continuing to search for Laundrie in Florida.
If Reid is truly concerned about disproportionate media coverage given to missing white women, perhaps she may consider dedicating some of her prime-time national TV show to sharing the stories of non-white missing persons on a regular basis.