Here’s a journalistic mystery: Why the difference between news coverage about the murders of abortion specialist George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, and Army recruiter Pvt. William Long of Conway, Arkansas?
Police in Kansas believe Tiller was killed by Scott Roeder, a longtime abortion-clinic protester and a member of the anti-government Freemen movement. Roeder also has a Jesus fish on the back of his vehicle, so let’s assume that he professes Christian faith.
A prosecutor in Arkansas believes Long and another soldier were shot by Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, a convert to Islam, “because of what they had done to Muslims in the past.”
Where is the swarm-the-zone coverage of Pvt. Long’s murder? Where are the broad-brush mainstream commentaries on what this murder says about young converts to Islam? Is the murder of an Army recruiter less newsworthy than the murder of a physician who performs late-term abortions? Is the murder of an Army recruiter simply an inevitable aspect of American life in the 21st century?
Is the murder in Kansas a story about religion while the murder in Arkansas is not?
Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic raised similar questions before I thought of writing this post. I did not read Goldberg’s post until I wrote my own argument.
Who can make sense of this conflicting coverage?