American Disgrace: Media and Public Behavior on the Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa

Our society is constantly bombarded with news reports about families of loved ones who go missing under dark circumstances. They are on network and cable television daily -- Dateline NBC, 48 Hours Mystery and a host of others. We watch these stories and sympathize with the families who are enduring the impact of their tragedy and join them in their hope of achieving closure.

For the past 13 years I have served as the Communications Director and chief spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. I've had the honor of working closely with Jim Hoffa, the current president, and have had the privilege of getting to know the entire Hoffa family: his sister, Judge Barbara Crancer; his wife, Ginger; his sons, David and Geoffrey; and his niece Barbara Dengel. As a family, they have handled the loss of a father and grandfather with tremendous dignity -- despite the fact that the media and public has treated their loss as some sort of national joke.

There is another news report this week about a potential lead in solving the case of Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance. Having endured numerous stories such as this one with the family, I am skeptical that this search will bring closure for them. But rather than participating in the media circus, I ask you to reflect for a moment on the impact of his abduction and murder on those who loved him most -- his family.

Jimmy Hoffa was violently taken from them in 1975, because, I believe, he had the temerity and fortitude to take on the mafia and to try to rid the union of their influence.

The family I know has stood together through the most trying times and provided love and support to each other for the past 37 years. The Hoffa family deserves the compassion and respect that every other family in our great nation receives when they encounter such a tragedy.