Image by Alek Glasrud
So the media’s a week into this ordeal and approximately 50,000 featherweight articles in on an inevitable crash course toward information overload. We weren’t expecting too much respectable coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing trial; there’s a fine line between truther conspiracy theorizing and responsibly acknowledging that the agencies investigating and prosecuting the case are full of shit, and there aren’t many journos with the chops to tread that gap. There’s some good and even great material out there too, sure. Nevertheless, most of what we’re finding falls among these categories …
That Monster Is An Even Bigger Monster Than You Thought
Before you get all Boston Tough on us, we should be clear: Dzhokhar is a menace, and an admitted murderer at this point, and we’re down to see him get either the cell or the needle. At the same time, the red meat-flinging faction of the press can’t help but fuel the rage. It’s a pathetic sight, kind of like when moderately popular teenagers fan the aggressive whims of their queen and king bees. Whatever they’re doing, it isn’t journalism. It’s cheerleading, and it’s shameless unless used inside a larger context.
Exhibit A: “Feds: Tsarnaev ‘decided to place his bomb right behind a row of children’” (Boston Herald)
Federal prosecutors today kicked off the long-awaited trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with a devastating chronology of his alleged actions on the day of the bombings … “He decided to place his bomb right behind a row of children …” federal prosecutor William Weinreb said during opening statements.
Let’s Pander To Those Who Haven’t Paid Any Attention
There are lots of ignoramuses, starting with a mass of dolts here in Boston, whose knowledge of what’s happened since the bombing is limited to thinking the Red Sox somehow won the World Series because we’re a resilient people, whatever the piss that means. For them, and presumably for Us Magazine subscribers and others goons of comparably wretched ilk, mainstream outlets have been simply rehashing former developments. We’re aggravated with the aggregation, as the public should be able to expect much more from those with ample resources.
Exhibit B: “Tsarnaev trial: Timeline of the bombings, manhunt and aftermath” (CNN)
Two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 250 others. A fourth person, an MIT police officer, was killed three days later during the manhunt for the bombing suspects … Here is a timeline of events, from the days leading up to the bombings …
Hey, Check Out Our Live Blog and Twitter Feed
Nothing new to see here. Just a bunch of lame-ass Twitter feeds, sometimes pulled onto a homepage, we assume for people who are unaware that they can get much more robust social media commentary by actually going on Twitter, or Facebook, or anywhere beside some network news site from the ’90s where the blurbs are strangely floating in a box off to the right. No doubt lots of television anchors will receive awards from their sad little trade organizations for their new-media prowess, but that doesn’t make this garbage look any less desperate.
Exhibit C: The national ABC live blog, which appears to be a cheap compendium of tweets by hacks from their local affiliate.
Juror #697 says yes based on what he saw in the media.
It Seems You Are Mature Enough To Be Treated Like An Adult
Sadly, there haven’t been too many thoughtful articles, clever indictments of the prosecution, or points about the role of Dzhokhar’s faith beyond the tabloid insults that excite racists. Granted, legitimate analysis takes time, and there are hopefully several learned accounts coming along. For now though, huge props to The Intercept for darts such as “Prosecutor Says Tsarnaev Was ‘Holy Warrior’” by Murtaza Hussain. WARNING: Only for those who can simultaneously process disparate thoughts.
Exhibit D: “The Tsarnaev Trial and the Blind Spots in ‘Countering Violent Extremism’” (The Intercept)
Widely described as a “self-radicalized” terrorist, Tsarnaev now serves as a prime example of the type of individual targeted by Countering Violent Extremist (CVE) programs. Yet in fact, Tsarnaev’s life trajectory leading up to the bombing does not resemble the “path to radicalization” identified in CVE frameworks—raising questions about the capacity of these programs to intervene effectively to preempt terrorism.
This Is Even Sadder And More Tragic Than You Realized
Sort of like the first category, but even more offensive when done poorly and/or purely for web traffic. It’s important to cover the suffering and plight of survivors, and certainly there’s been a lot of testimony in that vein up to this point. But for outlets that are barely even following the trial, this kind of bandwagoning is downright pathetic. We hate to quote Rush Limbaugh, but it’s kind of like his definition of the so-called Drive-By Media: “They arrive on the scene of major breaking news and they stir up emotions to a frenzied fever pitch.”
Exhibit E: “Boston bombing trial: ‘You’re on fire,’ witness recalls after blast” (Toronto Sun via Reuters)
“There was smoke, there was blood. I was most focused on my husband, he was right next to me still, and his foot and his leg were kind of detached … A man came over as I was trying to fumble to put a tourniquet on Patrick and said, ‘Ma’am you’re on fire, you’re on fire.’
[Media Farm is wrangled by DigBoston News + Features Editor Chris Faraone]