The alleged kidnapping of Bonnie Sweeten and her 9-year-old daughter smelled fishy from the start, said Shaun Mullen in The Moderate Voice. The media treated the carjacking tale “as if it were Armageddon on wheels”—a blond, blue-eyed suburban Pennsylvania mom and her little girl were reportedly snatched by two black men in a Cadillac. Now police say she made the whole thing up—both mother and daughter were found at Disney World. It’s too bad that real kidnappings of black children in Philadelphia don’t get this kind of coverage.
Let's hope they enjoyed Disney World, said Maria E. Andreu in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger, because now Bonnie Sweeten is facing charges for calling in a false report to 911. But the rest of us should be ashamed, too, for failing to mend our ways after Susan Smith’s infamous false and racially tinged report 15 years ago. “Our collective consciousness still holds stereotypes that make it too easy for the ‘criminal black man’ to be a shorthand we share.”
It wasn't just a fantastic story that allowed Bonnie Sweeten to make it to Disney World, said Matt Coughlin, George Mattar, and Jo Ciavaglia in the Bucks County, Penn., Courier Times. Sweeten, 38, apparently got hold of a former co-worker’s driver’s license. She allegedly used the license to buy the plane tickets without putting them in her name, which is how she got to Florida while police were still looking for a Cadillac that didn’t exist.