Thursday, April 18, 2013

In Wake of Boston Bombing, HuffPost Does Premature Damage Control

Today is Thursday, three days after the bombing of the Boston Marathon which killed three and wounded over one hundred. The Huffington Post's "Religion" section has been working on articles about productive ways to react to tragedy, as one would expect. However, what bothers me more is that they seem to be already engaging in "damage control" if the perpetrators of the bombing turn out to be Muslim radicals. I commented earlier on Hammad Moses Khan's article making the bombing all about him and his pain, but the Huffington Post followed it with many others:

So what might jump to mind is that this is all good news! Why wouldn't you want the Huffington Post readership to know that American Muslims don't support blowing up innocent people? Don't you want American Muslims saying loudly that they don't agree with terrorism? Isn't moderate Muslims condemning this kind of thing exactly what you want?

That thought brings me to my final example, which is actually from the "World" section. A blog post by Vlad Chituc. Here are a couple passages that more or less sum up the post:
"What would have happened, though, if the perpetrator was this 20-year-old Saudi, who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time looking the wrong color and maybe calling out to the name of the wrong-sounding God? What if it was some other Muslim, instead? Why should that even matter?...If we find out tomorrow that the bomber was a right-wing radical protesting tax day, then no one will look at their Republican friends any differently, and no Republicans will feel the need to be careful about how they respond in a tragedy. But if we find out tomorrow that the bomber was a Muslim, then I don't think we can say the same. And that's a problem."
Vlad's title is "If the bomber was a Muslim, so what?" His point, which makes sense on the surface, is the same thing the Huffington Post has been pushing: Most Muslims aren't radical so there's no problem.

Except that there is a problem. Radical Islam is very much a problem, as almost every nation on Earth can attest to. And if the bombing in Boston was committed by radical Muslims than America should be aware of that and respond accordingly. If it was committed by a right-wing (or left-wing) domestic radical, we should also respond accordingly to that.

Which brings me back to my criticism of the Huffington Post's coverage of this. If the bombing was in fact perpetrated by radical Muslims, then this would be an opportunity to inform the readers that the threat is still out there while reminding us that not every Muslim subscribes to that ideology. Instead what we are getting is a very shrill message: Not all Muslims are terrorists so it doesn't matter if Muslims just blew up 150 people in Boston! So just move on! It seems to me that the Huffington Post editors have a very specific agenda they are pushing, and they will push it regardless of the facts. If those responsible for the bombings are in fact radical Muslims, we will undoubtedly see twice as many articles as above all on the same topic.

Finally, I must say that only when it is Muslims doing bad things (or potentially doing bad things) that the Huffington Post comes out for them. When Jewish people don't pay women exactly equally or ride in plastic bags on airplanes, they are on their own.


  1. The first comment I stumbled across today in the wake of the shootout, explosions, manhunt and identification of the suspects as Chechnyan was..."Allowed into the US on Bush's watch..." of course. So now it's Bush's fault that these two children were allowed into the country ostensibly as refugees. You really can't buy that kind of crazy.

  2. Meanwhile, they are in fact Chechnyan Muslims.


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