(ANTIMEDIA) — Many people who are conscious of the media’s biased coverage of terror attacks in different parts of the world usually frame the issue as one of outright racism. This is misguided, if not dishonest, given that social media erupted into a frenzy when the image of a drowned Syrian refugee went viral in 2015, suggesting people do occasionally care about dark-skinned people.
Therefore, it isn’t that people care more when civilians with a particular skin color die in tragic circumstances. The fact is that people care more when the media tells them to care more.
The recent attack in St. Petersburg is no exception. No major landmarks were lit up to show solidarity and sympathy with Russia for an attack that killed more civilians than the London attack two weeks prior. There was no Facebook flag change and no march of world leaders. In fact, the “world leaders” who expressed sympathy for this recent attack in Russia were largely foreign ministers — not heads of state.
The majority of newspapers had the story as a headline for the day. However, there was a noticeable difference: If the attack had been in London or Paris, the rest of the news items would have essentially been shut down for the day. In those instances, the reader would see the main headline regarding the attack and then a string of related stories all linked to the attack. None of the major news outlets reported the events in St. Petersburg this way. They all went straight to other news stories directly afterward.
Further, Fox News didn’t even have it as their top story. A New Zealand newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, had the story 19 stories down on its main page. Given New Zealand’s close ties and strong sympathy for attacks that occur in the U.K, U.S., and France, it is concerning that this sympathy is not extended to other countries around the world.
It’s one thing to compare an attack in London to one in Russia, but it’s something wholly different to compare these attacks to attacks that occur elsewhere in the Middle East. It is estimated that while the world was mourning the recent attack in London, over 200 civilians were likely killed by American airstrikes in Iraq.
The media conveniently spun the stories about America’s air war in Iraq to refrain from allocating blame and to frame it more as an accident as opposed to what it was: an act of terror of the worst kind imaginable.
In the days following the attack in St. Petersburg, there are very few newspapers talking about this event — and certainly not as a top story. Yet the death toll for this attack is approximately three times higher than that of London’s.
We are also left wondering why on earth Facebook felt the need to mark every Londoner safe after the events in the area of Westminster, despite London being a city of over 8 million people that was subject to an attack that killed a mere five. London’s cyclists are killed at a higher rate.
It isn’t racism that drives our desire to care about certain events and atrocities. It’s the attention the media pays to a particular story. Right now, the media spin doctors are working in full force to prey on the public’s emotions after another chemical attack in Syria – but they only want you to care insofar as the attack can be pinned on the Syrian government. The media has paid little attention to the chemical weapons attacks committed by ISIS, or the fact that evidence suggested U.S.-backed rebels committed major sarin gas attacks in 2013.
This should serve as a reminder that when you find yourself caring about a particular event — as opposed to other events that happen daily across the globe — you might only be concerned because someone else told you to worry in order to serve a particular agenda.
In the case of Russia, the underlying reasons for the corporate media downplaying this attack should be obvious. They also aren’t holding back in suggesting that Russia is now experiencing blowback for its military ventures in the Middle East, though this same media rarely concedes that the U.S., U.K., and France have been experiencing similar blowback for their multiple military interventions across the globe.
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