Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Two bomb blasts killed three during the Boston Marathon yesterday. A series of bombings killed 55 in Iraq. The news media jumped into wall-to-wall coverage of the Boston incident. The Iraq bombings were mentioned in passing. Do people hurt less in Iraq, and is there less pain to know that loved ones have been ripped to bits? The news media demonstrated the power of expectations. They consider bombings in Iraq a normal event. The explosions at the Marathon were extraordinary. But did that merit breathless coverage? Reporters and editors understand correctly that Americans want to know what happened to their own and why. Hence, they treated the event accordingly. Do we care less about Iraqis? Apparently we do. A cynical citizen of that country could look with disdain on the Boston coverage and ask why similar reporting is lacking there. An answer to that is Americans don't expect terror to be a normal part of life. We have let 9/11 recede into memory and the two great holes in downtown New York are from an increasingly distant time. America has spent billions to increase security. We expect it to work. That it can't as Boston has shown and Iraq continues to demonstrate is a horror we don't want to contemplate.