With the Boston bombing still ringing in the runner's ears is it not too soon to make unfounded accusations about who might be responsible? The New York Post and Britain's Daily Mail were overly keen to suggest it was a 'dark skinned' man with a 'foreign accent' when, truth be told, American atrocities of late have usually been committed by home grown, white extremists. A 'Saudi Arabian' man was said to be seen 'running suspiciously from the explosion' - how does one behave when a bomb goes off? As the hours passed the story slipped away to a foot note and then vanished entirely as it became clear the man was in fact, not involved. But is the damage by association so easy to shake off?
With the numbers of reported dead varying between three and twelve it becomes clear the media is often too busy engaging in one-upmanship to have any regard for facts. This irresponsible reporting is, in my opinion, partly responsible for shaping the mind that conceives of such mass murder.
A disregard and alienation of victims in press creates an empathy barrier where the facts are unsound, irrelevant even, and the faux sympathy trumps real feeling. Disconnecting people from the real horror and turning tragedy into entertainment. Turning people into heartless monsters.
From the virtual celebrity status enjoyed by the Sandy Hook murderer to the graphic televised spectacle of the Boston Bombing it is clear the media appetite for this kind of destruction is immense. Perhaps understandable, as news is the business of newspapers, but I question if the hunger for speculation should be reserved for private discourse rather than the public medium.
This could very well prove to be an attack Middle Eastern, or Muslim in origin and perhaps with retrospect it could be argued that the press weren't speculating but rather demonstrating great reportage. But, none the less I feel the days after an incident like this should be reserved for the victims and regarded by all in a dignified, non-sensational manner.