Why isn’t the murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, allegedly at the hands of anti-immigration vigilantes in Arizona, a national news story, we wondered on Friday afternoon. The trial of Shawna Forde, who prosecutors say led the raid of the Flores home to steal drug money, began last week and outlets like the Arizona Daily Star and The Daily Beast had reporters on the ground. But much of the mainstream media ignored it altogether, including both CNN and the New York Times. Eventually, the Beast and local paper were joined the ABC News, the Los Angeles Times, Britain’s Daily Mail and a host of bloggers, acknowledging the newsworthiness of the trial. Now, CNN is finally getting into the action.
Previously, both the Times and CNN had not covered the case in writing since the killings in 2009. But in a feature published online by Anderson Cooper 360° producer Ismael Estrada, CNN recounted the story in its horrific detail. It adds no new detail about the case and features no reporting additional to that which has already been published, but it runs down the key facts: Shawna Forde as a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps; Brisenia crying in horror “Why did you shoot my mom?” at the home intruders, according to her mother Gina Gonzalez’s testimony; the killing of Brisenia’s father, Raul Flores, a suspected drug dealer.
“Please cover this story on your show!” reads the first comment under the article. “We still have a predjuice strong hold in this country and we need to deal with it. Regardless of where you stand on the immigration debate no child deserves to die like this!”
The next comment shares a similar sentiment: “I concur, we need you Anderson Cooper. So far even the Spanish media has ignored this story, and this is a direct result of the poisonous atmosphere in politics.”
Meanwhile, the Times now has a mention of Brisenia Flores on their website, but it’s in the comments section. Attached to the article “Utah’s Gun Appreciation Day,” Ralph W. writes, “Having just read about the 2009 murder by gun of nine-year-old Brisenia Flores, another Arizona tragedy that may well have informed Sheriff Dupnik’s public denunciation of heated rhetoric, I am just agog at how our nation has become utterly saturated in violence.” The trial has still not made the paper.
Knowledge of the case continues to spread online, with mentions from the Washington Post, local outlets like the Tucson Citizen and countless pro-migrant bloggers like Citizen Orange, while outlets with the funds to assign a reporter to trial and perhaps shine a brighter light on a complicated crime remain nowhere to be seen.
For more on the case of Brisenia Flores and the Shawna Ford murder trial, check out our past coverage:
Brisenia Flores Is Still Not Quite National News: Why? [1/28/11]
Mainstream Media Continues to Ignore the Horrifying Murder of Brisenia Flores [1/26/11]
Brisenia Flores, Another Nine-Year-Old Girl, Was Shot and Killed in Arizona [1/24/11]