« Context-Free Coverage of Terror Helps Perpetuate Its Causes » (FAIR, 16/11/2015)
“The outpouring of no-context, ahistorical sympathy after 9/11 helped pave the way for a violent reaction that killed in Iraq alone roughly 150 times as many people as died in Lower Manhattan that day — an opportunistic catastrophe that did more to mock than avenge those deaths. Coverage of the Paris attacks seems to be similarly skirting over political realities.”
Just as the question of Al-Qaeda’s motives in 2001 provoked more self-congratulation than serious inquiry (Extra! Update, 10/01), coverage of Paris in 2015 tends to skirt over political realities. Thus the New York Times (11/13/15) could report: “A stunned and confused French capital was again left to wonder: Why us? Once again?” The obvious answer was alluded to obliquely by a soccer stadium spectator: “With all the strikes in Syria, we’re not safe anymore.”
Readers were presumed to know this referred to the French bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria, which began in September, following aerial attacks against ISIS’s positions in Iraq that started last year (CNN, 9/27/15). Just last week, France joined in intensified strikes against ISIS-controlled oil fields in Syria (New York Times, 11/12/15). By last summer, Western airstrikes against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria had reportedly killed at least 459 civilians, including more than 100 children (Guardian, 8/3/15).