Inside this backpack was a bomb. Not just any kind of bomb. An incredibly sophisticated bomb the likes of which law enforcement officials haven’t seen, loaded with shrapnel that was designed to hurt people. Worse, the bomb was placed in a position that was designed to attack a parade route in Spokane, Wash. The bomb was designed to be remotely controlled. And wanna know what that parade route was for? That’s right, an MLK Day parade. So why is this story getting underplayed? By, well, everybody? A few examples:
Buried a little
CNN: Buried in a list
Perhaps it hasn’t caught the full attention of the network that this might perhaps have been a huge terror attack. Ricky Gervais is in the infamous features slot. Also, the story’s short.
MSNBC: A video tease
Not a top news item, and further down the page than CNN. Considering the nature of the attack, doesn’t this seem like underplay? But at least they have a photo of the thing, right?
Further down the list …
Washington Post: Also buried
Even lower on the page than MSNBC, the Post’s coverage of the incident is just a link to an AP story, rather than any unique coverage from a local angle.
Fox News: Also buried
So, according to this list here, domestic terrorism ranks at a similar level as “Drug-Smuggling Pigeon Caught in Colombia.” Check. Great job.
WSJ: Near the bottom
Below such stories as “Is the NFL Telegraphing Drug Tests” and “Pandas Can Stay in D.C. 5 More Years” is a story about the incident. It’s short, but written by WSJ staffers.
NY Times: Hah! Yeah, it’s not here
The Times appears not to have given the story any play on its front page at all today. You have to go all the way to the bottom of the National page to even find it. It’s also from yesterday.
» Why this might be: We think there are a few factors at play here. First of all, since the bomb was caught before anyone was hurt, it effectively dulled its “immediate danger” factor. But the firepower of the bomb suggests a much more sinister danger and motive that should increase the story’s play, but isn’t due to its lack of obvious eye-catching imagery and clear motive. There’s a motive suggested by the situation and the nature of the bomb, but few details to back this up. The lack of details make it hard to play it up. (Even the Spokane Spokesman-Review has played it down at this point.) Finally, there has simply been a lot of news in the last two days – the health care repeal, Giffords, Joe Lieberman, Steve Jobs, etc., and it’s the kind of thing that might get buried. None of these are excuses for underplaying it, but just a thought process as to why this happened. source