London Bridge

Location, location, location: What do Coptic leaders think, watching coverage of London attacks?

Location, location, location: What do Coptic leaders think, watching coverage of London attacks?

The journalism patterns are familiar by now when terrorists strike one of the important cities of Western Europe. At this point, I don't think the news protocols are as well established for attacks in North America -- because they have not become that "normal," yet.

Surely you have spotted some of the guidelines that have been in effect for some time now.

It's more "conservative" to put references to "Allah" -- in quotes from eyewitnesses -- in ledes or, especially, in headlines. In early coverage, the higher journalists play the religion card, the more "conservative" the publication. For example, it is more "conservative" to state that attackers attempted to cut the throats of victims (because it calls to mind hellish Islamic State videos) than it is to say that victims were merely stabbed. It's easy, for example, to guess which British newspaper used this headline online: 

Terrifying moment three Jihadis were shot dead after killing seven and hurting 48: Gang yell 'This is for Allah' after mowing down crowd on London Bridge then going on stabbing frenzy

That would be The Daily Mail. The overture in its early report punched all the usual buttons: 

Police are today seeking the identities of three Jihadi terrorists who were shot dead by armed police after killing seven people and injuring dozens of others in a horrific van and knife rampage through central London last night. 
The men, described as being 'of Mediterranean origin', mowed down up to 20 revellers as they careered across London Bridge in an 'S shape' at 50mph before they began 'randomly stabbing' people in nearby Borough Market.

We will come back to coverage of this latest attack on and near London Bridge. Before we do, however, I would like to acknowledge that I have received reader emails, in recent weeks, asking this familiar question: Why do attacks in Europe receive so much more attention in American media than terrorist attacks in, let's say, Egypt, Nigeria or Pakistan?

In other words, readers are asking a variation on that old journalism question: How many Coptic Christians have to die in Egypt to equal the death of one urbanite in London (or one tourist from the United States)?

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