By Ken Reed

Soon after the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy, we had media individuals and organizations (not to mention bloggers and tweeters across the country) lining up to jump to the conclusion that the case was a clear act of terrorism backed by a terrorist organization. In particular, all Muslims were stigmatized as potential terrorists in the case.

The New York Post was one of the worst offenders, quickly running a headline saying, “Authorities ID Suspect as Saudi National in Marathon Bombings ….” The story was completely erroneous, but the person in question had his name and picture placed in the paper. The Post also wrongly identified two other people as suspects in the case.

Other “journalists” surmised all kinds of political reasons for the actions of the Tsarnaev brothers, who are allegedly responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. In many cases, it appeared the top concern of these people was to push their own political agendas. The fact is, we don’t know what the motivation was in this case. We do know that, at this point, Boston officials believe the Tsarnaev brothers were acting alone.

“All of the information I have is they acted alone, these two individuals, the brothers,” said Mayor Thomas Menino on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.

Whether or not you agree with President Obama’s politics or not, here’s hoping we can all agree with the cautious approach he asked for in his remarks following the capture of the youngest Tsarnaev brother.

The President criticized some of the news coverage surrounding the attack and the investigation and asked Americans not to rush to judgment on the case, including possible motives. Obama said nobody should be judged solely on their background. He noted that “in this age of instant reporting, tweets and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to many bits of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions.”

Whether this case turns out to be an extensively planned plot, orchestrated by a sophisticated terrorist group, or not, there are still many lessons to be learned by the media — and all of us really — about the dangers of rushing to judgment. The Boston Marathon case has left individuals unfairly accused, and Muslims as a whole smeared with collective blame.

That’s a shame and a sizable portion of the media and blogosphere need to take responsibility. They also need to begin exhibiting more self-discipline in their work.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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