In the midst of chaotic media frenzy that has been the Boston bombing, one prevailing theme has emerged amongst all of the media coverage of these attacks: The popularity of the bombers. I use the term popularity because that is what this terrorist attack has evolved into. The fixation of the media on the motives, lives, backgrounds and beliefs of the bombers has created an atmosphere in which these attackers are treated like celebrities. While it is true that their popularity is negatively based and built on anger and disgust, the fact that they are given popularity is to me a serious problem.
It would be interesting to see how the rates of shootings and terrorist attacks would be affected if the media refused to discuss the identities of the perpetrators. Rather than put the attackers photos and personal stories on the tube/Web, media outlets would conceal visual images of the suspects and keep all information on the assailant unidentifiable.
Obviously the identity of the attackers would have to be disclosed in cases of manhunts or keeping the public safe from fleeing suspects, but what of those suspects who have been detained? Why do suspects in custody deserve the glory of a media circus? The use of terrorism and murder is an effective and fast means of acquiring national, or even international, fame. Our culture of fixating on the attackers in these crimes is what establishes that path to fame.
I know that ignoring murderers won’t put an end to murder. I’m also aware that ignoring the killers in these terrorists acts probably won’t solve the problem of why we are having them. That being said, removing or reducing the public attention and glory that comes from killing people might help reduce the motivation of psychopathic murderers who commit these crimes. If anything, we can probably agree that it would be more righteous to report and honor the lives of the victims of these acts, rather than the butchers who carry them out.