By BRIANA SCOTT
Last week, late Friday night, reports of terrorist attacks in France killing more than 100 people. Every local, national and international news network covered the story from the moment the attacks happened and every update that has taken place since then.
It seemed as though all of my Facebook friends changed their profile pictures with the semi-transparent overlay of the French flag. Almost four million people, gathered to march in support of France. Several world leaders flew to France to show their support and speak on the issue and express their nation’s solidarity with France.
Support for France and the outcry against the attacks was expressed worldwide via social media, news coverage, and public marches. Many people raised the question: Where is the outcry for the attacks in Nigeria? Where is the support for the people of Syria? Where is the outcry for Lebanon?
In Nigeria, it is believed that Boko Haram orchestrated a terrorist attack killing 32 people and injuring more. Thousands of Syrians are fleeing from their own country in fear of ISIS. In Lebanon, 40 people were killed and left more than 200 wounded victims of bombs at the hands of ISIS.
Where are the flags for these countries on people’s Facebook profile photos? Where is the international outcry for the victims of these attacks?
People on social media have called out several Western news networks for the biased coverage of terrorist attacks happening all around the world. In response to the claims presented on social media, CNN responded during a segment of their morning show “New Day.”
Michaela Pereira, a “New Day” co-host, raised the question if the West should be doing more to fight Boko Haram. One of the show’s guest speaker, James Marks (a military analyst and executive dean of the University of Phoenix), stated that the reason the West isn’t doing more or showing support to countries such as Nigeria or Lebanon is simply because, “they are not a priority.”
Marks also stated that, “The United States, unilaterally, could do anything it needed to do to root out Boko Haram. It would be a long-term effort, but it could be done. The U.S. has the capability…but it is not a priority—that’s the problem.
Marks went on to say, “‘Black’ West Africa is not a priority. If we were to see Boko Haram appear in ‘White Africa’, which is North Africa, we would be alarmed.”
But is the mass coverage of Paris in comparison to other countries simply a race issue? The Washington Post thinks so, but they also think several other factors are a part of the issue as indicated in their recent article, “This is why the Paris attacks have gotten more news coverage than other terrorist attacks.”
The Washington Post lists the following reasons contributing to why the attacks in Paris received mass coverage as opposed to other terrorist attacks.
- France is an unusual target.
- Paris is a top global tourist destination
- Random civilians were targeted using shocking tactics
- Are we seeing a new battleground for the Islamic State?
- This was a complex, coordinated attack. And that’s worrisome.
The Washington Post wrote, “The Paris attack shocked the world for many reasons. It’s true that terrorism in less-developed countries is worth our attention as well. Crises, such as the Syrian civil war, deserve much more media coverage and policy focus.”
To conclude, I agree with The Washington Post. There are several other reasons that contributed to the mass media coverage that the Paris attacks received, other than race and urbanization. However, I do believe that because France is not a Third World country, they received more coverage. The prioritization of what is considered to be news to the West is problematic, because one could conclude that the amount of coverage a nation receives indicates their level of importance and whether or not they, and their lives, matter.