Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hot Topic: Media Coverage of the thwarted Yemen attack

I am very upset with the recent headlines emphasizing how our law enforcement and anti-terrorism “barely” prevented the bomb attacks that originated in Yemen. Below is a copy of an email I sent to the editors of the St. Petersburg Times in response to a front page article entitled: “Bomb disaster barely averted.”

Dear Mr. Brown,

I am all fired up about a front page story “Bomb disaster barely averted.” I understand from the lack of byline that you all just pieced together the AP and wire coverage. I feel this coverage was an irresponsible way to represent the heroic acts that prevented loss of life from a terroristic attack.

You are a journalist. How in the world do you know if it was “barely”? What does “barely” mean anyway? Should they have caught them in Yemen – the country that is fake cooperating with us? Should they have hired psychics to tell them who the bombers were going to be and then imprisoned them so you could report that they clearly prevented a terrorist act? Give me a break. Yes, the bombs flew on planes before they were intercepted. That could have been your headline, in fact. “Bombs flew twice before detection.” But instead you try to sensationalize the facts and make it seem like it was luck. The truth is that THEY STOPPED THE ATTACK!

This country is under threat daily from sources and plots that we, as civilians, cannot imagine. When something goes wrong, it is an abysmal, catastrophic failure that only reinforces our leadership is inadequate. Yet, when something goes right, when loss of lives is prevented – you can’t even give them credit for that. You degrade their efforts by saying “just barely” or “they got these but there could be more.” It’s disgusting. I understand that this operation was not perfect and I am not recommending a parade, but I would appreciate some even-handedness.

I admire the St Pete Times for its journalistic integrity. I continue to subscribe because your investigative pieces are top notch. I just wish you had used some of those talents in the telling of this story instead of relying on the insulting characterizations of the AP.

Thank you.

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