Terrorism: What’s News And What Isn’t

Posted by | May 22, 2010 16:05 | Filed under: Top Stories

by James Frye

We’ve had two terrorist attacks on American soil recently – one killed people and one didn’t but could have, and neither happened in Times Square in New York City. Did you hear about either of them? Chances are that you didn’t or if you did, it wasn’t because of wall-to-wall hours of coverage on any cable or network news.

Here’s the first act of terrorism:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An antigovernment Ohio man who had had several run-ins with the police around the country was identified Friday as one of two people suspected of gunning down two officers during a traffic stop in Arkansas. [the officers, Sgt. Brandon Paudert, left, and Officer Bill Evans, are pictured]

Not to make light of the tragedy, but wow, that surely made national news on all the networks, right?  No?

OK, so how about this one:

FBI officials in Jacksonville, Fla., say they have found the remnants of a pipe bomb used in a possible hate crime at a mosque during evening prayers.

Along with local police, the FBI launched an investigation after an explosion shook the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida at 9:35 p.m. Monday, when approximately 60 people were inside praying. No one was injured.

Now THAT had to have days of coverage on all the networks. A bomb actually worked here, unlike the Times Square SUV that failed to go off.

No again?

That’s not surprising, unfortunately.  Thanks to the mainstream media’s fear of being looked at crossly by anyone on the right, the definition of terrorism and it’s newsworthiness has only two requirements for coverage:  it has to be foreign and Muslim related.  Domestic terrorism is just murder and hate crimes and therefore not as important.

A Muslim Army officer goes on a shooting rampage on a military base = terrorism.  A car bomb that failed to go off,  set by a Pakistani man = terrorism.

All of these attacks are something else:

Examples of these politically-motivated attacks from extremists seem to be increasingly common. Just this year, John Patrick Bedell opened fire at the Pentagon; Joe Stack flew an airplane into a building; and the Hutaree Militia terrorist plot was uncovered. Last year, James von Brunn opened fire at the Holocaust memorial museum; Richard Poplawski gunned down three police officers in Pittsburgh, in part because he feared the non-existent “Obama gun ban”; and Dr. George Tiller was assassinated. In 2008, Jim David Adkisson opened fire in a Unitarian church in Tennessee, in part because of his “hatred of the liberal movement.”

Oh no, we musn’t ever call those attacks “terrorism.”   That might upset the righties — they’ll start crying that we’re talking about all conservatives and that would be bad.

We do have to be vigilant about foreign-based terrorist attacks after 9/11.  That’s a given.  However, to leave out the increasing pattern of domestic terrorism from our news and policy-making renders us just as vulnerable to terrorist violence as if we had done nothing after that awful morning in New York City.  Domestic terrorists have one thing going for them that foreign terrorists do not — the homegrown types are already here and have pretty easy access to the tools of their trade:  guns, explosives, etc. all sold to them from smiling shopkeepers.

The point here isn’t that one is more important or is more of a threat than the other.  By all means, notify authorities if there’s a Middle Eastern man furtively escaping a smoking SUV.  While you’re at it, be sure to notify the authorities as well if you see a “Real American” pulling up to a federal building in a vehicle covered with anti-government stickers, jumping out red-faced and marching up the steps with a glimpse of a concealed carry pistol under his coat.

Each will kill you and others just as dead.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: James Frye

Long time progressive activist in the Pacific Northwest and self-studying student of politics

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