By now you've probably heard the bizarre story of Bonnie Sweeten. The suburban mother of three set off a region-wide manhunt with a frantic 911 call that said she and her daughter had been abducted following a traffic accident in Southampton, Bucks County. Her call was from the trunk of the late-model Cadillac that her abductors, two black men, had stuffed her and her 9 year old daughter into.
For television news, it was the trifecta--abducted blond woman, missing little girl, and black suspects. Who could ask for more? Okay, upon closer examination the story made no sense, but is that important?
Understandably, the police had to pursue every lead as if it was real, because that's their job. When life and death are in the balance it's foolish to jump to conclusions. But the initial story stunk to high heaven. A midday accident and abduction on one of the area's most heavily traveled roads with no witnesses or evidence? Off the record the police said the story didn't make any sense. The local print media covered it, but it was pretty obvious they were downplaying the story. Most of the reader comments on philly.com were hopeful but skeptical, and many on domelights.com--a local forum with a heavy police presense--agreed that this didn't pass the smell test. And, fortunately, it turned out this story was as fake as it sounded.
So what's up with the Today show? How incompetent, desperate or totally unethical do you have to be to look at a story that raises so many red flags and still decide to give it national exposure? I understand why the locals covered it, but there was no reason to rush such a questionable story to the national stage.
Charles Stuart or Susan Smith, and thought maybe the story deserved another day or two at the local level. But, no....when the victim is a blond white woman, and the suspects are black, it must be true. Right?
Thankfully this story is long on bizarre and short of tragic. Because of that, I can enjoy a little moment in the Annals of Unintended Prophecy. Consider the song Dizz Knee Land, recorded by dada way back in 1992.
Dizz Knee Land