Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Shaming of the Shrew

Six days have elapsed since the worst terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001 and already two things are abundantly clear. First, given the type of open society we have and the rights we enjoy, it may well be impossible to completely protect ourselves from future attacks; indeed, given what goes on in Europe on a regular basis, we've been fortunate that there haven't been more successful attempts.

And secondly, the media in this country is simply abysmal. Watching the "news" coverage of this event over the last week was nauseating. From the first moments after the bombs went off to the capture of the second suspect, I have never been more embarrassed for an industry.

And in didn't matter which channel you tuned into. For the first time I can remember, everyone was even-steven. Appalling, all. One network even went above and beyond to separate itself from the pack. This just in, CNN has confirmed that the residents of Watertown can now safely leave their homes. The lockdown is over!

SERIOUSLY, WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IT IS THAT JOHN KING AND ERIN BURNETT DO FOR A LIVING? I'M DYING TO KNOW!!!

But if the "coverage" of this tragedy was shameful; the rush to judgement was beyond contempt. Not even 24 hours into the event, most of the main-stream press and virtually all of the liberal media were ready to pronounce that it was a domestic attack, no doubt perpetrated by a right-wing lunatic or lunatics, probably spurred on by the gun lobby. After all, wasn't it tax day? Images of Oklahoma City and the second coming of Timothy McVeigh danced in their heads all week long and made their way into the ether.  Never mind that there was not one shred of evidence that supported such idiotic claims; they continued to gather steam and gain momentum.

And on the flip side of the same warped coin, not to be outdone, the entire AM radio dial was convinced that the attack had to be the result of al-Qaeda sleeper cells with the ghost of Osama bin Laden, no doubt, directing them from the grave. Peter King, Mr. Islamophobe himself, called for a renewed "focus" on Muslim communities. Of course, the fact that there is no direct evidence that either of the two suspects in the bombings had any connection to Islamic extremist groups, didn't prevent King and the throng of airheads on the Right from spouting their drivel. Like their polar opposites on the Left, they stuck to their narrative, come hell or high water.

The truth is there is still a lot we don't know about what happened and why. Guessing about motive at this juncture is irresponsible. Three people have been killed - one an 8-year old boy - well over a hundred have been injured, some critically, and the vast majority of what passes for the media in this country have embarrassed themselves by shoddy reporting, rush to judgements and flat out poor taste. It's enough to make you throw up.

Let's hope the next time a lunatic feels the urge to blow up something he plants his bomb right under the communication hub that links to the satellite that the cable networks use to broadcast from.

God knows the country could use the break!


Correction: An earlier version of this piece said "worst attack on American soil." What I meant to say was "terrorist attack." Obviously since 9/11, there have been worse attacks on American soil, Newtown for one. I have made the appropriate change.

No comments: