Saturday, January 07, 2017

Florida firing: Once name was known, 'terrorist' became 'gunman', headlines got diluted

What's in a name? Everything is the name now.

A man began shooting indiscriminately at an airport in Florida in United States of America.

The wire reports, tweets suddenly started appearing on smartphones.

Soon it became clear that five persons had been killed and many more wounded.

Till now, there was panic and everyone was worried what it might turn out to be. Mercifully, the killer was arrested soon. He was taken into custody. 

The person's identity was also known. The name was Esteban Santiago.

The person is an Army veteran. Immediately, it was known [that it was understood know] that this was not a 'terror attack'! Strange, isn't it. Yes, that's how the world, the international media functions in this era.

Santiago was described as 'gunman', 'shooter' or just 'suspect'. The reports were set to be diluted and headlines no longer sensational. It was termed 'the incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida'.

One headline said, '5 dead, 8 wounded in Florida airport shooting; U.S. vet arrested'. The other read, 'Fort Lauderdale shooting: five dead as suspect identified as Iraq veteran'. Clearly, no alarm was needed, anymore.

READ: Lone wolf, shooter or madman but never terrorist

It is always like that, isn't it? The man is called 'Lone wolf' or 'shooter' or 'gunman' because the person is not Muslim.

There is an 'understanding', a code which is unwritten but observed all over the media world--everyone knows what words to be used to describe after religious identity is known.

Esteban Santiago
The follow-up reports started coming fast. NYT got this report, within hours, 'Florida Airport Assailant May Have Heard Voices Urging Violence, Officials Say'.

Of course, he must be 'insane'. No talk about his links or modules or connections or motive.
How can he do it?

Other reports included Al-Jazeera that gave the headline, ;Gunman kills five at Florida's Ft Lauderdale airport'.

Leading newspaper Guardian reported, 'Fort Lauderdale shooting: five dead as suspect identified as Iraq veteran'. Do check the reports to understand the double standards on terror and reporting such shootings.

READ: Media must de-link terror from religion, consider all criminals alike

Isn't time that media organisations take a serious note of these double standards, introspect and go by the book--ethics, rules and norms of journalism! Irresponsible and biased journalism affects opinion of millions, turns people against entire race and religion, spreads poison in society.

Intention or association with any group could be known only after probe but what happens is that NAME is enough to decide what words would be used to describe him and how much sensationalism, coverage would be given to the event.

Hence, it is dire need of the hour that same vocabulary should be used for the same crime or extremist act. If a person is Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Jew, his religion must not be criterion for his criminal nomenclature.

All the posts on the media's 'LONE WOLF' syndrome can be read on this blog HERE