You might have watched the first riveting week of the Boston bombing news coverage and thought people needed to calm down a little bit. The entire city of Boston was shut down as 9,000 law enforcement officers hunted for a teenage terror suspect. Police got in a firefight with the teenager, who turned out to be unarmed while sitting in a boat. Twitter acted as an emotion amplifier. Adults tweeted photos of Mr. Rogers. "There is no 'there' anymore. All the world and all history are here, on the streets of Boston," Huffington Post reporter Howard Fineman tweeted. There was the suggestion the bombing was scarier than 9/11. It seemed like maybe we needed to take a deep breath, show a little restraint. But now, after a second week with few public answers and a brand-new federal prosecution, it turns out we've been too restrained, apparently.
"I think there has been maybe too much sensitivity on this question of Islamic jihad," CNN's Howard Kurtz said Friday, speaking of the few hours it took from the moment police released the Tsarneavs' names for reporters to track their Internet and ethnic history and form a thesis of why they did it. But, just a few minutes later, Kurtz said, "I have the sense now that, 90 percent [of the coverage] has been profiles and psychoanalysis of the Tsarnaev brothers, taking the spotlight away from where it should be — the people who were killed." Would the ideal coverage be to immediately assume the Tsarnaevs were motivated by Islamic extremism and then immediately stop looking for any more information about them? There is something weird about wanting to end inquiry into why they acted — federal investigators are certainly trying to find out. But Rush Limbaugh sees media bias in even posting photos of Dzhokhar, because he is too cute. An attempt to figure out their motives, Limbaugh says, is an attempt to define deviancy down, to normalize terrorism.