Did Media Ignore Terrorist Bomb Attempt Because It was in the Wrong Washington?
Monday, February 07, 2011
Spokane Bomb Backpack (photo: FBI)
Death and mass injury were avoided last month in Spokane, Washington, when an unexploded backpack bomb was discovered near the route of parade celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 17. Although the bomb was well designed and a legitimate threat, most of the national media paid little attention to the incident. Speculation about why the attempted terrorist attack was ignored has centered on two possible reasons: 1) it took place far away from the media centers of Washington DC and New York and 2) the perpetrators were likely not Muslims.
As she pointed out in a recent segment of her show, Rachel Maddow said the media has been quick to jump all over “suspicious” packages found in large cities, even when there was no real threat to the public. But in Spokane, a city of only 207,000, the threat was very real.
“I still do not know why this is not a national story,” said Maddow of the backpack bomb. “This was not a theoretical bomb invented by law enforcement … this was not an intended bomb or a poorly constructed bomb that would not have caused extensive damage. This was the real deal, and so far it has barely made a national ripple.”
The FBI in Washington State have said that whoever made the Spokane bomb mixed it with chemicals and shrapnel to inflict maximum injuries on the MLK parade marchers. The chemical used was similar to a compound found in rat poison that acts as an anti-coagulant—meaning anyone injured by the explosion would have faced a higher risk of hemorrhaging.
While most terrorism threats these days produce a knee-jerk assumption about Islamic fanatics, the Spokane bomb was more likely the work of domestic extremists, specifically white supremacists. This assumption is based on the target—those honoring Martin Luther King, the fallen civil rights leader—and previous attempts that have occurred in the Washington city.
In 1996, a white supremacist group went on a four-month crime spree that included bombings and bank robberies. That same year two men were convicted of planting a pipe bomb at Spokane City Hall as part of a broad conspiracy to bring down the government and install a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest.
The Spokane bomb is being examined at an FBI lab in Virginia.
King Day Bomb Had Chemical Component (by Thomas Clouse, Spokane Spokesman-Review)
Bombs: Away (by Daniel Walters, Nicholas Deshais and Kevin Taylor, Pacific Northwest Inlander)
Maddow Shows How the 'National' Media Isn't National at All (by David Sirota, Huffington Post)
The Realm and Sphere of Domestic Terrorism (Rachel Maddow Show)
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