Friday, December 26, 2008

Routine bust gets big media coverage thanks to beauty queen and her not-so-routine bust

Many news stories would barely get coverage if not for some odd twist or titillating detail that moves the story to the top of the pile.
Such was the case this week with a routine drug-related bust in Mexico.
Major U.S. news organizations looked at the story this way:

Police in Mexico arrested eight people in two trucks at a military checkpoint on Tuesday.
They found a large stash of weapons, including two AR-15 assault rifles, .38 specials, 9mm handguns, nine magazines, 633 cartridges and $53,300 in U.S. currency.
Yawn.The men were suspected gang members from the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa.
Never heard of it.About 90% of the cocaine entering the U.S. passes through Mexico, generating billions of dollars a year for powerful and vicious cartels that corrupt segments of society ranging from the police and army to musical groups.
So what else is new?Oh, yeah, and one of the people rounded up is a 23-year-old model.
Really. Tell me more.
She’s the reigning beauty queen from the Mexican state of Sinaloa.
Still don’t know where that is, but I’m very interested. What else?She’s smoking hot and there are pictures. Lots and lots of pictures, including bikini shots.
I love it. Let’s give it team coverage.

In July, the woman, Laura Zuniga, won the Sinaloa beauty pageant, which gave her the right to compete two months later in the national competition in Monterrey. She came in third overall in the contest, which sends the winner to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. In October, she won the title "Hispanoamerican Queen 2008" in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
The Associated Press wrote this about the suspect lineup:
Miss Sinaloa 2008 Laura Zuniga stared at the ground, with her flowing dark hair concealing her face, as she stood squeezed between seven alleged gunmen lined up before journalists.
According to CNN, Mexican newscasts referred to the former preschool teacher as “Miss Pistols” and likened her situation to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
Apparently the story wasn’t salacious enough. The Mexican press had to spice it up a little.

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