Skip to main content

Laura Clawson is spot on.

We basically have agreed that disasters like this are, as Kim puts it, "the presumed cost of living in a modern, industrialized economy." We should take disasters like this one as a reminder of the recklessness with human life that our political and economic systems tolerate and even encourage.
One step further:  The reason for the focus on the Boston Marathon bombing vs. the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion is not just because the Boston Marathon is a world-class event.  It is not just because the alleged perpetrators hail from a heavily Muslim area of the world and that this area of the world has previous experience with violent extremism (though this is no doubt is a contributing factor).  It is not even because of the innate human need to assign blame and seek justice, as discussed in the Atlantic.  Rather, the primary reason lies in the way traditional media operates and the worldview it chooses to perpetuate.  A worldview dominated by deference to the corporation, to the free market and more recently, to a desire to eliminate most or even all regulation of and accountability for private industry.

The Boston Marathon offered the above-mentioned characteristics – a high-profile event, potential foreign (Muslim) terrorist activity and awful images of blood and death, including the death of a child – that makes for great TV, print and social media.  Multiple outlets even provided images, not just insinuation or implication but actual images on the front page of alleged suspects who turned out to be completely unrelated.

Conversely, the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion can be explained by some combination of corporate negligence, incompetence and accident.  The first two possibilities are rarely reported by traditional media outlets.  When corporate negligence or incompetence does make the news, the corporation can easily explain away the problem and often does by blaming burdensome government over-regulation.  But in this case, the lax regulation was easily discovered.  So instead, the story is largely ignored relatively to the bombings in Boston.

It is much easier to want to assign blame and seek justice when the suspects have foreign sounding names and detonated a bomb at an otherwise peaceful, world-class athletic event.  The fertilizer plant in West, Texas was a terrible event and possibly nothing more than an accident.  But, as many have written, the death toll was far higher, the damage likely worse and the coverage far less.   Of course, the great David Nir wrote this morning about the special election for Congressional in SC-1 and felt obligated to rehash the bizarre details since last week was blurred by both Texas and Boston.

Both a well functioning democracy of humans and the well functioning capital markets of corporate people  require committed participants, transparency in action and consistent application of rules and accountability for those who break them.  There was immediate and extensive debate over how to classify the Boston suspects and whether or not to “Mirandize” them (we even make up words, depending on the nature and significance of the event).  There has been little coverage in the traditional media about corporate regulatory reform or even proper oversight and enforcement of existing laws.

When these features are over applied to democracy and under applied to private industry, the result cannot  be good for either.

Originally posted to ABlueKansas on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site