by Conor Friedersdorf

Let's imagine a frightening hypothetical: a foreign organized crime organization establishes itself in an upscale American suburb, where it begins donning law enforcement uniforms, posing as police officers, and kidnapping affluent residents in broad daylight.

Say these victims were tortured, murdered, and dumped on the street. 

I'd predict a media frenzy would follow, except that I know better: in fact, those crimes would go unnoticed for years, The Los Angeles Times would eventually print the story on page 10, and even then the national press would mostly ignore it.

Despite a career spent in media, I am frequently reminded that I rarely predict what stories will grab national attention, and I never quite understand the forces at work.

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