Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibilityBoston marathon: Developing story.

Boston marathon: Developing story.

Allow me to say that as an alum and an employee of MIT, it was shocking to learn that the campus had become the scene of a terrorist shootout. The most violent event I can think of on the MIT campus was when it was tear-gassed during Vietham War-era protests. But that was nothing like this.

And condolences to the family of the MIT police officer who was killed. I’m afraid I still cherish university campuses as a place for study and reflection; I’m always heartened to walk through MIT and see students buried in textbooks or collaborating on a project. That officer gave his life to help protect the unique place of MIT in the world, as a distinguished institution that contributes so much more to the world than terrorists can ever hope to erase. I hope that can provide some comfort to his family.

*  *  *

If you’ll pardon the vulgar language, you might want to read a vicious–and pretty much justified–takedown of The New York Post‘s horrendous coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. The post, by Tom Scocca at Gawkeocent, blasts the Post for putting two innocent marathon spectators on its cover under the headline, “Bag Men.”

The Post deserves everything Scocca fires at it, but please, Scocca, we could have done without your particularly vicious language. Whether you were trying to express your anger, or your disdain for convention, your post would have been stronger with the facts, minus the invective. Your methods resemble those of the Post, I’m sorry to say.

*  *  *

Twitter was once again the news organization of choice last night. While hundreds of news sites were scrambling for bits of information, Twitter was curating and organizing them in a way that Google news couldn’t possibly keep up with.

*  *  *

All kinds of reports of other suspicious activity are coming in, many of which are sure to prove to be incorrect. The Buffalo News reported minutes ago that police were questioning two brothers in Niagara Falls who, for unspecified reasons, had attracted suspicion. The men said they were tourists, and the News is now saying “it appears the brothers’ story is checking out.” And I saw a tweet a few minutes ago saying that police are searching for a Honda possibly containing a suspect with a suicide vest, and now it’s turning up in the news. 

*  *  *

And in other news, The Guardian is reporting that 42 of the 45 senators who voted “no” on gun-control legislation have “received money from firearms lobbyists.”

*  *  *

Something is wrong when the network anchors and reporters are making the same comments on the air that are occurring to me at home. Why should I watch? And beware of any comment that begins, “It’s possible that…”

*  *  *

The ethnic background of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers is already having an effect on immigration reform in Washington. “The Boston terror attacks will ‘help shed light on the weaknesses in our [immigration] system’ and how the U.S. can ‘beef up security checks on people who would enter the United States,’” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley.

*  *  *

A Dunkin’ Donuts in Newton, not far from Watertown, has apparently been told it could remain open during the lockdown. Jessica Cadorette, a store manager., told BuzzFeed: “There was an automated message going around telling businesses to close, but because we’re Dunkin’ Donuts, we called the police department and they said we didn’t have to [close].”

*  *  *

ProPublica is one of the most successful and admired online news sites, famous for, among other things, its investigative reporting and for being the first online news site to win a Pulitzer Prize. I wandered over to see what it was saying about today’s news. I saw nothing on the home page, nor did I find anything when I searched the site for the word “marathon.” The New York Times does important investigative pieces similar to those done by ProPublica, but it also covers spot news. ProPublica has apparently decided not to cover spot news (although it does have a post on the gun bill news from earlier in the week).

I can imagine that ProPublica might see itself as taking the high road, deciding that if it can’t say anything new and newsy, it shouldn’t say anything at all. That wouldn’t be a bad thing; we’re beging overwhelmed by a lot of nonsense from other news outlets who ought to be saying a lot less. Kudos to ProPublica for not joining the scrum. But perhaps ProPublica should have acknowledged the news and explained why it hadn’t posted anything yet today. (Update: ProPublica had a story up by the end of the afternoon.

This article was originally published on Boston marathon: Developing story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.