Unequal Media Coverage of 2 Murders in Detroit

Why was the murder of a white, wealthy woman a bigger story than that of a Detroit girl?

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Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley tries to determine why the horrific murder of a 12-year-old African-American Detroit girl received far less coverage than that of a white, wealthy Grosse Pointe, Mich., woman.

He says that while the default answer is race, the reason may actually be the unusual nature of Jane Bashara's death compared with that of Kade'jah Davis, the 12-year-old girl.

I also can't ignore the whodunit aspect of the Jane Bashara case, the suspicions surrounding her husband and the salacious details, from a hidden girlfriend to a basement S & M club. You don't get to write about sex dungeons every day.

But I suspect the real reason has more to do with the nature of news. By definition, news is the unusual.

Grosse Pointe Park hadn't had a murder in roughly 20 years before Bashara was beaten and strangled, apparently in the garage of her tony home.

There's nothing unusual about a homicide in Detroit. In the first 30 days of the New Year, the city had 27 slayings.

Even child killings have become commonplace. Even when a child is killed on the front porch of her own home by bullets intended for her mother, it doesn't shock us as much as it should because it's not all that outside the norm.

When bodies are accumulating at the rate of nearly one a day, it gets harder to work up an outrage, even at the most outrageous crimes.

The danger of becoming desensitized to bloodshed is that the raging homicide rate falls down the priority list.

While bullets are flying all over the city, the City Council is debating an austerity budget that could lay off up to 1,000 police officers.