An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Terrorism’

America, it’s time to move on from 9/11

It is one of those things that needs to sometimes be said.  Sometimes, a person need to rise above the urge to be a part of a movement, to be a part of a system, and say what society, or a certain area of society, needs to hear.  And society, or at least American society, does need to hear this.  They need to hear this because every single area of this country is guilty.  America, you need to move on from 9/11.  Bad stuff happens all the time, but the fact is that this is not the worst thing that has ever happened anywhere.  It is a combination of laziness, egotism, and simple lack of concern that has made this great boogieman the enemy that it is today.

The first person to blame in all of this is the media.  They were to blame, they are to blame.  They are absolutely to blame.  The media and the fact that they are being completely lazy is very much to blame in how 9/11 has become the great source of talk that it is.  The media did something that it shouldn’t have done after 9/11.  It covered this to DEATH!  To this day, they are almost canonizing (in their own way), the people who did this crime.  Rather than ignoring.  Rather than treating this rationally, they decided to do what the modern news media seems to always do, and hype it up, sell it big.  They created another boogieman for the nation to fear.  Sensationalization has become the ultimate failing of the media.

And every year, they bring it up.  Again and again, like we just need to be told every tiny detail that happens.  Like we are just supposed to experience it all, again and again.  How are the families who suffered incidents like this not offended by this?  Why are they not more annoyed?  Every time the news decides that they can’t think of something new to talk about, the terrorists are the big topic.

The worst part about 9/11, as Richard Dreyfuss pointed out, was that we didn’t learn the right lessons from it.  Instead of being rational, we had an idiot Texan in office who decided to use it to fuel two power-hungry wars that have funneled over $1 trillion of the taxpayers’ money into them.  The military-industrial complex is the only area that has done well after all of this.

Then there are the people who believe that this is the worst disaster to ever happen ever, or even those who believe that this is the worst thing to happen in America, that more people have never died in another American incident.  Ever heard of the Civil War?  Thousands of people have died in a single day in that war!  Thousands of people die from drunk drivers every year.  People die from disease every year.  People die from smoking every year.  People die from cancer every year.  Now, those people dying was horrible, that’s the truth, but every single person who goes on spouting off about how this is the biggest tragedy in American history needs to shut their mouths!

It is actually kind of infuriating, because the rest of the world is suffering terrorism.  Some nations have bombings and attacks happen pretty much every day.  People in this country are so ethno-centric that we fail to realize that there is this whole big world out there that is filled with people who are dying, often in ways that are much worst than a building collapsing on top of you, getting crushed by a plane, or falling to your death.  When people of this country expect the rest of the world to pat us on the back and say how sorry they are, what kind of message does that send?!

It is a tragic thing that that happened, but as a rather foul-mouthed vlogger said, “get over it already!”  This is how it work – something bad happens, you mourn for a while, and then you move on.  It is the media and the government who is exploiting this to death.  My field, journalism, is given a worse and worse name because every single day, when they decide to drag this incident through the mud again, the people who actually lost somebody are being exploited.  This incident is becoming a lot like the Founding Fathers to conservatives – just something that they can mine and use and exploit, regardless of the facts.

America, move on!  We are not so special.  It is an unpopular opinion to have, but people need to have it.

Peace out,

Eli

Oslo Tragedy Shows Different Side of Terrorism

There was an attack in Oslo, Norway, yesterday.  It was a tragedy, and the death toll right now is over 90 people.  Seven were killed in the car bombing, and 85 people were killed in the subsequent shooting at a camp for the local labor party that was 25 miles away from the car bombing.  Now, the moment that this happened, the media instantly started to wonder who it was, and the problem here is that they all wondered the same thing – was it a Muslim terrorist?  Well, it wasn’t an Islamic terrorist group, it was a lone man with some pretty hardcore beliefs.

The perpetrator of this heinous crime was a man by the named of Anders Behring Breivik.  He is 32 years old, and not a Muslim at all.  He is a Christian fundamentalist white nationalist.  When the media first reported this attack, some of the more level-headed mindset thought that this didn’t fit the MO of an Islamic terrorist group.  It targeted a government building, which doesn’t fit the pattern.  Usually, Islamic terrorists do their crimes in an area where they can maximize the casualties, kill as many people as possible.  Of course, several Muslim groups did come out after this event and take credit, but that is what they do.  They want the world to fear them as much as possible.

But the fact is that the media all jumped on the same bandwagon – that this had to be a Muslim group, that this had to be Al Qaeda or something like that.  On Facebook there were posts where people said that even if it wasn’t any of them, it was still them because they had inspired this kind of thing.  Well, that is an interesting perspective, because the fact is that white nationalist terrorism isn’t a new thing in this world at all.

One parallel that was made about this was comparing this event to the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh.  That’s a very good comparison.  It shares a lot of the same themes.  White nationalist, Christian fundamentalist, attacking a government building in order to deal a blow to a system they are radically against.  It is very similar in all of the ways that it can be.  But really, it is just the fact that people jumped on a bandwagon so quickly that says something pretty unpleasant about society that we have today.

The fact is that terrorism comes in all shapes an sizes.  From the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords to the Oklahoma City Bombing, people need to be aware that domestic terrorism is real, and it is often something that people don’t take seriously, but really should.  Because a common bit of vernacular that comes up is that “it is only Muslim terrorists who blow people up.”  No, wrong!  The fact is that domestic terrorism is infinitely more dangerous because it can’t be defended against.  Nobody could have predicted that this lone guy was going to do this.  Nobody could have foreseen him just deciding to kill people, including a bunch of kids, who didn’t agree with him.

There was a quote by somebody or other,

One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 people who have only interests.”

And what’s more, Rupert Murdoch’s groups, Fox News, and The Sun newspaper, didn’t report on the fact he was a Christian at all.  Not one report mentions that the god this guy worships is the same one that Fox News claims that all of America is based on.  I wonder how many conservative groups posted after the Oklahoma City Bombing that Timothy McVeigh was a Christian.  The fact is that people will all go crazy and will paint a button to put on a group of people, but they close their minds to that other group, to the other, more dangerous half of America.

This brings it to the part about Fox News.  Back when Glenn Beck was on their network, whenever one of their viewers would decide to follow his insane rhetoric and go out and do something, he would scream, and cry for non-violence.  Well, this is what happens.  When you write books and go on the news and tell people that killing other people who don’t agree with you is a perfectly acceptable way to handle things, stuff like this happens.

And where are those who believe that it is all Muslims now?  They aren’t anywhere.  They aren’t talking.  Or there are those who make posts on Facebook or other blogs about how it is Al Qaeda who inspired this kind of action.  And there are those who claim this was one guy.  Yeah, not true.  Take a look at Northern Ireland right now, where this kind of violence is flaring up right now.

And what’s more, the media doesn’t think critically.  Fox News and all of the conservative groups instantly jump on the bandwagon of an Islamic terrorist group, not even bothering to think that it might be somebody else.  It was ironic to listen to Keith Olbermann talk last night and have to make it very clear that it wasn’t an Islamic terrorist.  He shouldn’t have to be that clear, because the media shouldn’t be painting pictures already.

This is where Jon Stewart was right about the modern 24-hour news networks.  They are becoming sensationalist and lazy, not doing the very hardcore and very diligent reporting that groups like NPR, PBS, and BBC are famous for.  The thing that makes it worse is that people aren’t demanding something better from the news they watch.  They aren’t demanding a better coverage and being more level-headed.  They jumped on a bandwagon because it was easy, and rode that (Fox News is still riding it) until it became apparent that their preconceived notion was wrong.

The public has to start demanding something better of their news.  Fox viewers will never demand anything better.  They don’t have the integrity to demand something better.  But for all the rest of you who watch CNN and MSNBC, you have to start demanding something better.  Because reporting like this, is a shame upon the entire field of journalism

Peace out,

Eli

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