Jimmy Breslin says there are only two headlines that sell newspapers: WAR and BIG GUY DIES. (Here at Huffington, the two headlines are OBAMA and SOMEONE'S NOT PAYING ENOUGH ATTENTION TO OBAMA.) In cable news, the only stories anyone cares about involve missing white women, the blonder the better.
Elizabeth Smart and Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson and JonBenet Ramsey, Madeline McCann and Jessica Lynch, the Runaway Bride and the remains of Anna Nicole Smith. Those stories were made for cable. Sure, it's fun to watch a casino implode, the first hundred times, but it doesn't have the same urgent familiarity; the same prurient arc of tension and relief, like a cross between a nipple slip and a mining disaster. There's something about missing white women that just works for 24-hour news. Like shipwrecks in Shakespeare, or the way you can't write a truly awful folk song without mentioning smoking.
Is it news that we need? Of course not. I'm sure Natalee Holloway was a perfectly nice person, but unless there are particles of her in my drinking water, I don't need to know she's still gone.
As unsettling as the stories are, we can take a kind of comfort in the soothing inexorability of the coverage. The message is that the medium cares. If a woman goes missing -- and she's not black or poor -- CNN, Fox and MSNBC will cover it.
So what happened to the missing blonde woman in John McCain's lobbying scandal?
It's been twelve days.
Where on Earth is Vicki Iseman?
We've heard from John McCain:
"I'm very disappointed in the New York Times..."
And from Cindy McCain:
"I'm very, very disappointed in The New York Times..."
But what about Vicki Iseman? Isn't she disappointed?
Not even in Thomas Friedman?
Until we hear her speak, or hear she's been identified from dental records, how can we ever have closure?
It's not just that she's vanished, although that should be enough, considering her hair color. And it's not just that she's been tied to a U.S. senator with a very real chance of achieving America's highest office and then dying in it. It's that there are still only three pictures of her on Google.
She's been a lobbyist for eighteen years, but she's only been photographed three times. And one of those times was with President Bush. Unless she folds up neatly and fits inside Jack Abramoff's hat, it doesn't make sense.
Where's Vicki Iseman and where's the cable news coverage of her disappearance?
Email Nancy Grace at this address.
And demand to know.