Why so little reporting on Spokane bomb threat?

Oklahomacitybombing DF ST 96 00587

SEATTLE - Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) recently posted a story on its website headlined “Terrorism and Spokane” assailing the media for mostly ignoring the bomb placed along the route of the Jan. 17 Martin Luther King Day march in Spokane.

Luckily, city workers discovered the backpack containing the shrapnel-filled explosive device and the march was rerouted by Spokane police. The FBI removed the bomb, sending it to the FBI lab at Quantico, Virginia for analysis. Forensic investigators say the bomb also was laced with a toxic chemical to make it even more lethal. FBI Special Agent Frederick Gutt, a spokesperson for the Seattle Field Office, said, “The device appeared to be operational, it appeared to be deadly, and it was intended to inflict multiple casualties.” Another police official said, it is the “worst device, and the most intentional device I have ever seen.”

It was described as “highly sophisticated,” rigged with a remote trigger.

Spokane is the largest city in a region with a concentration of white supremacist hate groups and armed militias. The Aryan Nations and its  leader Richard Butler recruited racists and anti-Semites to an armed compound in nearby Hayden Lake, Idaho. A civil lawsuit won by opponents of the Aryan Nations bankrupted Butler. His compound was confiscated. He died in 2004.

FAIR points out that the media downplayed the Spokane bomb threat even though it took place just a few weeks after the tragedy in Tucson in which a deranged gunman shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., killed a U.S. Judge, an eight year old girl and four other victims and wounded a dozen more.

FAIR quotes Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News who protests the media putting this case of “domestic terrorism” on their back pages.

Bunch asks if the underreporting is the result of intimidation of the media by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and other rightwing extremists when the Tucson sheriff and others blamed the right for a climate of hate that made the killer think he was licensed to kill. Bunch cites the “massive pushback from conservatives who accused the mainstream media of jumping to unfair conclusions.”

Palin herself called it a “blood libel.” The former GOP veep nominee was savaged for using that term, Bunch continued, “but you have to wonder, now if the pushback from Palin is actually a case of ‘mission accomplished.’ That’s because with this new episode in Spokane, not only have the pillars of the mainstream media not raced to any conclusions, but they seem to be in a competition as to who can most ignore the story altogether.”

Bunch points out that there is a well-documented history of the corporate media playing down domestic terrorism threats “that don’t involve Arab or Muslim” alleged conspirators. When Timothy McVeigh and his accomplice bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, for example, law enforcement and the media instantly concluded that Arabs or Muslims were the perpetrators.

“But there’s no need to jump to unwarranted conclusions here,” writes Bunch, “the actual facts have been laid out by the nation’s preeminent law enforcement agency, the FBI – that we are dealing with a case of ‘domestic terrorism,’ that the sophisticated device along the King Day parade route was capable of causing mass casualties, and the target was American citizens celebrating an icon of the progressive movement, Dr. King.”

Photo: Devastation after the blast that destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, including 19 children, and wounding 680 others. (DoD photo)

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  • Interesting. This is the first I've heard of it, and I read the papers both online and in print form.

    Posted by John Whiskey, 02/10/2011 11:40pm (5 years ago)

  • Little reporting where? Here in Spokane, Wa there has been a fair amount of reporting. But there's not much to report about since the officials are tight lipped.

    Spokane is an out of the way small town -not much happens here that makes the national news.

    East coast cities can be hit by smaller snow storms and its plastered across the media day in and day out. We can get twice the snow and have our city shut down - and there won't be peep by the media outside the area.

    Same thing with ice storms or forest fires - we'll be lucky if the situation gets mentioned in the Seattle press, 285 miles away.

    Spokane is too isolated and distant from the big time media. That plays a huge impact in lack of news coverage.

    It's not just lack of outside stories on the attempted bombing. its lack of outside stories on anything that happens here. Wonder if FAIR might pick up on that too?

    Truth is, media played it down because no one really cares about Spokane outside the inland NW.

    Posted by Eric, 02/09/2011 2:09am (5 years ago)

  • I am also very perplexed about the lack of coverage. Someone tries to blow up his underwear, and the story never dies down. There is an intentional propaganda machine in place that is working to fuel only those news items that are on a pre arranged agenda. I live South of the Spokane area, very local, and even at the local level there is non existent coverage. This device was very deadly and sophisticated per the Spokane reports. I hope they catch the person(s) involved in this very soon, before any one is hurt

    Posted by Brooke, 02/08/2011 11:50am (5 years ago)

  • Okay,this chilling and penetrating story hit this press yesterday. This is by however,one of our stellar anti-racist and anti-fascist presspersons,brother Tim Wheeler.
    Why not even a comment? Perhaps we are numbed to racist and fascist acts? We can never afford to be.
    The communists and their friends must consistently plan action(s) to counter these trends,which along with provocations over decades,and recent AZ killings,its prelude of violence,Tea Party violence,Palin,Linbaugh,and Beck atrocities,consistent,irrational threats against the president Obama,and congresspersons(especially Africans,Latinos,Jews and women),make an emergency situation(consider the massive unemployment).
    Add to this the massive anti-immigrant onslaught in all media,with its racist lies,laws and actions.
    We need a massive,national jobs,anti-repression,anti-racist,and pro-immigrant confab to meet this emergency-it may save our lives and our country.
    After Foner,Markowitz and others have connected this recent racist repression and terrorism with actions against the Constitution and children's rights under its 14th amendment,we need orchestrated movement and action.
    Things (economic matters)may not only not get better,but capitalism may find,like it is now trying to find,its old friends of imperialism and fascism to "bail itself out".
    History teaches us this is anti-communism and xenophobia,which threatens the survival of humanity.

    We cannot underestimate jobs,anti-fascism,anti-racism and the fight against repression as a unifying tools for the entire working class.
    How we need unity,now.

    Posted by peaceapplause, 02/08/2011 10:45am (5 years ago)

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