Yes, Western Terror Attacks DO Get More Coverage


Mike Wendling writing for the BBC News Blog addresses the issue of whether the Brussels or Ankara attacks received more coverage. The social media sharing of posts regarding the lack of coverage are now become quite predictable, almost as much as the social media shouting matches over the nature of the threats, who really did it, how can these terrorist be stopped, etc. Online news outlets also joined the argument (Mashable’s story about a, “double standard on terror,” had nearly 17,000 shares as of the time of this posting) to weigh in about this  trend. Yours truly also posted a map asking readers to question the filters we see through courtesy of editors that need to aggregate eyeballs to the page or site.

The article makes sense in that Wendling tries to break down coverage by medium. While social networks were not silent on Ankara, it is shown that “Pray for Brussels” or “Pray for Belgium” was tweeted a bit over 50 percent more than “Pray for Turkey” or “Pray for Ankara.” Place names such as “Brussels” (in both French and English) were invoked over 6 million times. Turkey and Istanbul were merely mentioned 2.2 million times. Neither figure is a small number.

What should be noted is that Wendling concludes that editors for English-language news outlets determined that the Brussels attacks were worth more coverage, because of the reasons I highlighted in my previous post. The audience can’t pick either Brussels or Ankara out on a map likely and yet because of perceived cultural familiarity (I wager more Americans have had a Belgian Wit beer than baklava…thank you Blue Moon Brewing) the connection if further strengthened, because it take too much space and time to explain Turkey relationship to the US as opposed to Brussels (EU and NATO presence).


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