The Politics of the Marathon Monday disaster

Yesterday’s unfortunate events at the Boston Marathon were horrendous and a threat to America. The explosion caused three deaths and many more injuries to innocent observers of loved ones running across the finish line. The attack challenged many to run to help and the community came together. Although it was a night of mixed emotions, the news coverage and constant unreliable updates on social media were not helpful.

Only minutes after initial coverage started, a CNN guest started inaccurately accusing the attack on Al Queda and saying it was an international terrorist attack. Even with no evidence to support her claims, the CNN host did not do anything to inform the viewers that this statement was only speculation. Not only was this coverage irresponsible, it induced additional fear into the viewers that foreign Al Queda terrorist are on American soil, bombing our citizens.

Also on CNN, another guest accused “right wing extremistS” for that attack claiming that because it was Tax Day along with numerous other ridiculous claims. Once again, the CNN host did nothing to clear the statement as speculation since there was no true evidence of any suspects or causes for the blast.

The NY Post also had other numerous false claims on the incident. At one point in time, they reported 12 deaths from the explosion while all other news sources were only claiming two deaths (this later rose to three casualties). Along with the falsely reported death numbers, IT also reported that a Saudi National was being held in custody at a local Boston Hospital that had been “identified as a suspect.” The Boston Police Department repeatedly disclaimed this report saying they had no advances on any suspect but that they had been questioning as many people as possible that had information on the blast.

Aside from the false reporting and false accusations, Twitter was in a constant uproar reporting more “suspicious packages” found all over the city of Boston. This reporting kept citizens and visitors in an unhealthy constant state of mind and fearful of what else can come. Of course this was a very frightening and uncomfortable time for the people in the city. We were already scrambling to get a hold of friends and loved ones to make sure they were not hurt in the initial blast and to reach out a welcoming hand for those that were affected but because of these unreliable reports, our own safety was uncertain.

I fully trust that our Boston Police Department and the FBI have full control of this situation. Our city is probably safer today than it was yesterday and we are all here doing our part to keep it that way. Once events like these are politicized, it ruins the importance and influence it has on our daily lives. Accusing one another and obsessing over why this happened or who did it, doesn’t solve anything. I know as citizens, we have the right to know what is going on in the world around us, but when did it get to a point where sources are reporting false information for the sole fact of satisfying people and getting more re-tweets?