Terrorism, Muslims, and the Media

Dear Media,

I understand that the world is changing, we are in a 24 hour news cycle, and everything is 2.0 now. But during the period between when there is a tragic event, and when some information about it is known….you actually are allowed to shut your metaphorical mouth and say nothing.

Here, using the awesome power of Microsoft Word, I have put together a rough flowchart demonstrating what the sequence of events should be:


(Of course, if it were an ideal world, step 1 wouldn’t occur in the first place!)

The key point I am trying to make is that between steps 2 and 3, you are under no obligation to report anything. If you absolutely must, you can repeat the most recent bit of news for people who have just tuned in or turned on or tapped in whatever kids do these days.

But please, I implore you, don’t fill the gap with empty, baseless speculation! Yes, a bomb is a terrible tragedy. And yes, a lot of scared people are looking for answers… but if you don’t know who set it off, or why, then don’t start trotting out tired old anti-Muslim sentiments. Why even mention Muslims? The vast majority are harmless, law-abiding individuals. Why not mention Jews? From 1980-2005 More terrorist acts in USA were committed in the name of Judaism than Islam.

The fact is that even mentioning Muslims in this context helps reinforce the confirmation bias that is already simmering in some people’s minds. I noted that the 7:30 Report, a show on ABC (an Australian public tv station, not the US one) had a segment reviewing the history of US terrorist attacks done in the name of Islam…they devoted much more than 6% of their time to that line of enquiry. I dread to think what the commercial networks are saying…

I am not a Muslim (in my mind every religion is as silly as the next…well, maybe some are a little sillier!). But I do hate the idea that any particular group of people is being tarred with a brush because of something that a small number of brainwashed people who claim to be in that group (but really aren’t) may or may not have done, especially when it is 15 times more likely that the act was committed by some other group, and especially when the insinuations being made are based on no absolutely no evidence but cultural/racial bias and stereotypes, and especially especially when the insinuations are being perpetuated by a publicly funded broadcaster in one of the most multicultural countries in the world!

To summarise, if you don’t have anything to say then just don’t say it.

Yours Sincerely,

An angry voice
Shouting at the clouds

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