Two different tragedies: different perceptions

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I am sure everyone has already heard about what happened in Norway: a terrible story with 76 people dead [according to the latest data], killed by a maniac.

So, I would like to address the issue of media behavior during and after the incident. Minutes after the bomb explosions in Norway, media was driven by complete misunderstanding of what was happening. At the same time people started raising suggestions and accusations that Muslim terrorists have something to do with this terrible murder. Official sources could neither confirm nor deny this information. It was crucial at the moment, while the guess work of some “experts” was moving further.

The fact that the killer was a Norwegian citizen, a person who has nothing to do with Islam, terrorism and Middle East in general, had a shocking effect. After all, media images of terrorists portray someone with a beard, olive skin and a crazy look in his eyes. No one associated terrorist with a blond European person. That’s why it was hard for many people to realize what had happened, that this wickedness was performed by one of “them”.

The day after the tragedy, the whole world was talking about Amy Winehouse’s death. My Facebook wall was covered with articles about it. First reports came from some tabloids, and then The New York Times and the Guardian joined the choir.

So, the news coverage of the singer’s death overshadowed the tragedy in Norway. And then discussions have shifted: people tried to put a shame on each other for being more worried about the Amy’s death rather than the mass murder of innocent children. It is a human psychology: people are familiar with songs of Amy and regret that she died; they do not know who the Norwegians are so they cannot associate with their tragedy. I think that the situation would be somewhat different if the killer was a Muslim extremist. Another shocking part is that the Norwegian murderer did not kill himself and now is able to present his “testament.”

And now the whole world is discussing the consequences of this tragedy. Obviously everyone is shocked. Hungary is terrified that the killer enjoyed visiting Hungary and considered Budapest his favorite city. Russian media discusses that Norwegian terrorist approved the Putin’s policy. The outburst of far-right and nationalistic parties in Europe have long been sending disturbing signals. Awareness of what happened has yet to come.

Here are some useful articles on the matter:

Norway or Amy? How editors confront the hierarchy of death

The news coverage of the Norway mass-killings was fact-free conjecture

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