Comment

The media shouldn’t apologise for giving the Paris attacks blanket coverage

A mourner wipes his eye outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (AP)

Of the many responses on social media to the appalling terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on Friday night, one of the most regurgitated, not to mention tedious, is the complaint that the blanket coverage of events in the French capital far outweighs reports of similar atrocities in Middle Eastern countries.

Two points here that are worth making.

Firstly, it seems to me beyond obvious that a series of attacks that kill and injure hundreds on our doorstep, in one of Europe’s major capital cities is objectively more newsworthy than a terrorist attack, like the one in Lebanon last week, in a troubled region of the world where such events have, sadly, become so common place. That is of course not to say French lives are more important than Lebanese, simply it’s the differing contexts that determine how much coverage they receive.

Secondly, the media at large does not shy away from reporting the grim news of Islamist atrocities no matter what part of the world they occur in. Here at The Catholic Herald we are proud to have played our own small part in this.

This magazine and website has in the last few years consistently reported on the attempted genocide of Christians and other minorities by ISIS in Iraq and the surrounding region, as well as the violence perpetrated by other Islamists in different parts of the world.

That these reports by us, and many others, have not inspired mass outpourings of solidarity from the Twitterati (the online Christian community, aside), in the way, say, many have rushed to warn against the demonising of the Muslim community at large, with their #illridewithyou hashtags and the like, says more about a generalised desire that people have to demonstrate their liberal credentials rather than actually get to the grips with the nihilistic depravity that has already destroyed so many lives across the globe and will continue to do so.

Suddenly, now that it suits people, evoking Islamist atrocities in the Middle East has become rather trendy, which is of no use at all to the thousands of Christians, Yezidis and Muslims who have already been butchered.