People like to compare global tragedies and wonder why some get more attention than others.
Take last week for example. The world collectively mourned for Brussels after 32 people were killed in two separate terrorist attacks. Major news networks featured breaking coverage of the incident immediately and didn’t relent throughout the day.
The New York Times gave it a full page spread on their website.
On Sunday, a terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan resulted in 70 deaths — 29 of them children. As soon as I heard this happened, I turned to every major news hub. They were all talking about the U.S. presidential election. No story broke.
It wasn’t even breaking news on the New York Times.
So what gives? One simple conclusion to make is that the media is biased towards the West, possibly even towards white people.
In a country where distrust of Muslims increases by the day, thanks in large part to scathing rhetoric by some presidential candidates (I won’t say which one), it’s no shocker that people didn’t exactly drop what they’re doing to suddenly shed tears for Pakistan, the world’s second most populous Muslim-majority country.
Ditto for Turkey, too, a nation of which more than 90 percent of its citizens are Muslim. A March 13 bombing in Ankara killed 37 people. But nobody seemed to really care.
Is it unfair to pick and choose which tragedies we should mourn? Of course. Race and religion shouldn’t be a factor when we’re talking about the murder of innocents.
But the bottom line is people harbor greater fear and sympathy for something that more closely relates to them. A lot of people have visited Brussels. Many Americans probably have Belgian ancestors.
Additionally, the attack was committed by ISIS — that radical Islamic group we hear about every single day. Whose sympathizers have committed an attack in the U.S. in the last six months.
It goes without saying that the Brussels attack feels more like a direct threat to the United
States than the ones in Pakistan and Turkey, which, while committed by terrorists, had more to do with a regional conflict in both areas that has little do with the West.
The last thing we need to remember is that while NBC, FOX and CNN are big news networks, they’re not the predominant news channels of the world. The Pakistan bombing surely got significant coverage in Asia and the Middle East. Just because something is not covered in America doesn’t mean it’s not covered.
Wondering why our American media is too biased to cover all parts of the world is a form of bias in of itself.
Again, I’m not trying to say what’s right and what’s wrong. All worldwide acts of terror suck and should be mourned accordingly. But I do think it is important to try and think about why certain tragedies get more coverage than others. Or why people on Facebook don’t react to all world events the same.
When news happens, for good or for bad, you can learn as much about is as you want by conducting your own research. And maybe we should stop caring so much about the amount of coverage something gets.
Not only is it an unproductive waste of your time, but it dehumanizes the entire significance of the ordeal and its victims.
The only coverage that should matter to any of us is the amount of time we devote to caring about it.
Or more importantly, the amount of coverage the Weinblog™ gives it.
Pakistan and Turkey, I see you.