Why Are the Corporate Media In Denial About the Right-Wing Terrorist Threat?
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It was a little over a month ago that the Norwegian Islamophobic Christian fundamentalist Anders Behring Breivik, wreaked havoc in Norway, killing 77 and injuring many more, and more than seven months since a bomb planted along the route of a march honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was discovered.
After the initial flurry of reportage, analysis, commentary and punditry, for all intents and purposes the Breivik story has disappeared into the ether that is the American mainstream media.
Maybe it is thus because it happened in far off Norway, maybe it is because our attention span is disastrously truncated, maybe it is because - like in so many of these cases -- he has been too easily dismissed as a madman acting alone.
Perhaps, too, the connective tissue between Breivik and homegrown Islamophobes is too hot to handle.
Interrupting the 'March of Time'
These days, we've pivoted on to other things: the debt-ceiling fiasco; the daily vicissitudes of the stock market; anguish over more U.S. troops being killed in Afghanistan and the increasing carnage in Iraq; Rupert Murdoch's serial scandals; Rick Perry's prayer-fest followed by his celebrated tossing of his hat into the Republican presidential ring; and, of course, the devastation of Hurricane Irene.
As Keith Olbermann exclaims on his nightly "Countdown" program at the end of the zany videos segment; "Time Marches On."
The Spokane syndrome
In a engrossing essay in the August issue of Esquire titled "The Bomb That Didn't Go Off", Charles P. Pierce interrupts the march of time, hopefully for more than a short rest-bit as he revisits the site of a bomb that didn't explode. Pierce takes a close look at the events of January 17, in Spokane, Washington, and places them within the borders of the question: Why has a series of right-wing-initiated violent actions in the U.S., including bombings, plans for bombings, and assassinations, have not gotten the attention they deserve?
To recap: On January 17, a bomb was discovered on a "bench in the corner of a downtown parking lot at the intersection of Washington Street and Main Avenue," a spot that was on the route of the hundreds of marchers expected to take part in the annual Martin Luther King Day celebration.
The bomb was discovered by "three maintenance workers [who] were sprucing up the perimeter of the parking lot at Washington and Main, shining up the route of the march." Police came, the area was cordoned off and evacuated, the bomb, that was discovered to be an IED, was robotically disarmed, the march was re-routed; no bomb went off, no one was hurt. Eventually, Kevin Harpham was arrested and accused of planting the bomb.
And, as the Reverend Percy Happy Watkins, who has delivered a reenactment of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech in Spokane for twenty-five years or so, pointed out: "We just forgot about it, that's what we always do."
Pierce writes: "That the events of January 17 largely have faded from the news has nothing to do with luck at all. That is all human agency - how a fragmented country gathers the pieces of an event like this and tries to construct from them, not necessarily the truth of what happened, but a story that the country can live with, one more fragment among dozens of others that the country has remembered to forget."
As we move deeper into an age of misinformation, disinformation, and superfluous information, maintaining our collective memory will more and more depend on honest information brokers; storytellers, journalists, investigative reporters who pursue a story with a passion and hunger for truth.