This week there were a series of major Islamic terrorist attacks in Brussels. Similar to the Paris Attacks earlier this year, there was a near immediate outpouring of support on social media by people across the world. Likewise, just as with the Paris attacks, before the smoke had settled, there was a social media backlash against the social media sympathy.
This backlash after both the Paris and Brussels attacks took the form of memes, cartoons, and self-righteous posts about how “the media only cares about rich white westerners” or something like that. These are usually accompanied by a list of attacks and bombings, which occurred in-between Paris and Brussels. Feigning curiosity about this “lack of media coverage” of other attacks, I decided to do a few searches for “terrorist attack” on some of my regular news sources (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy Magazine), here is what I turned up:
NYT: The bombing at the Kabul Bank branch here, in which a man wearing an explosive vest targeted a crowd of people waiting to collect their pay, also wounded 125, making it the worst suicide attack this year,
NYT: Twenty to 50 people were killed in the latest attack on Tuesday. A man disguised as a salesman blew himself up in a slaughterhouse in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and the biggest city in the region, officials said.
NYT: In an unusual daytime attack near Egypt’s most visible tourist attraction, gunmen shot and killed two police officers on Wednesday, a few hundred yards from the pyramids of Giza, security officials said.
This is not an exhaustive list; I could go on like this for pages. This was the result of ten minutes of me clicking around three publication’s news stories from the past year. It reconfirms what I knew all along: The media DOES report on terrorist attacks everywhere in the world.
So please, my Facebook friends who had the same reaction to Paris and Brussels (“but what about xyz country #prayfortheworld”) take some responsibility for yourself. It is not “the media” (whatever the media means) who isn’t reporting these stories, it’s YOU who’s not reading them. If you didn’t know about the terror attacks in Turkey, Tunisia, Iraq, Kenya, or anywhere else, that’s on you, because the reporting is out there. I knew about them, because I read those news sources on a regular basis. However if your only sources of what is going on in the world is Facebook, BuzzFeed, The Daily Show, and the HuffPo Opinion Section, I don’t really know what you want me to tell you. I find it particularly incredulous that people would claim “the media ignores xyz country” when I get daily news summaries from the NYT, BBC, and Foreign Policy, and every, single, day, there is at least one item in there about a terror attack / mass killing in a 3rd world country with a link to a longer article.
The fact of the matter is, between the French and Belgian attacks, worldwide terror activity didn’t stop, and the media didn’t stop reporting on it, YOU stopped paying attention. You have no one to blame but yourself for not being informed about the world. So, with all due respect, keep your self-righteous memes to yourself. Either be an informed member of the public, or don’t be, but stop blaming “the media”, racism, and other people for your own ignorance about world events.
(Cover Image: Karolina Grabowska)