London and reckless media

Media blindly pointed the finger at Islam and valued some lives more than others.

The city of London was shaken by terror when three bombs exploded last week on the London subway. In the middle of the chaos, media outlets lacked professional and objective integrity by jumping to hasty conclusions and blaming Muslims for the atrocity.

The words “Islam” and “terrorism” were recklessly used by media staff and political analysts on television. Not only was it difficult for professionals to differentiate between the act of terror and the faith of Islam, but the connection was made without the slightest afterthought. British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that the evidence points to al-Qaida but that no specific information was present. Saad al Fagih’s Web site, which claimed responsibility, gained more speculation than it deserved, especially when terrorist groups are eager to claim victories. Besides their bald claims, evidence was scant and required journalists to have more restraint than to hastily connect a Web site claim to acts of terror. Irresponsible Sherlock Holmesism only serves to confuse the public.

Moreover, the MSNBC story, “American feared dead” placed emphasis on the possibility of the loss of an American life. While this loss is significant, this person is no more important than the Londoners who died. More importantly, whether terrorists are bombing the subways in Europe or the United States plays an active role in destroying parts of the Middle East, the cost of human life should always be taken into account. The attack on London should remind us of the ongoing tragedy in Darfur, the loss of human life in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, and the overall absence of human rights we face.

The sanctity of human life should be taken with gravity whether it hinders on the life of a U.S. citizen or any other person. At the same time, when something like this happens, it’s important to avoid placing blame without unequivocal evidence pointing responsibility toward a group or person. The chaos and demand of instant news does not justify unprofessional journalism.