Tragedy and Patriotism

The American flag has figured prominently in the coverage of the murderous Boston explosions. Similar to the September 11th attacks, broadcasters have opted to keep the flag running in the background graphics of every segment. These shots from NBC’s The Today Show this morning:
Whether reporting the security response:

The capture of the suspect:

The Twitter reaction:

And in every interview with every expert:

In all discussions of the suspects:

To some extent the media coverage was a reflection of the sentiment out on the streets, with excited crowds waiving flags at the police.

MSNBC

According to MSNBC, many chanted “USA” and some broke out into the national anthem. These photos from the local site Peabody Dispatch:

Becca Manning
 “It was much like the night Osama Bin Laden was captured,” NBC’s Katy Tur noted.

Becca Manning

Becca Manning

Becca Manning
Becca Manning 

Meanwhile, news agencies produced these more romanticized shots:

India Express

India Express 

India Express

Forbes

Although the death count has been almost ten times lower than the previous mass killings in Connecticut and four times lower than Colorado, the murders in Boston are being treated as an attack on the nation, rather than the work of disturbed individuals.

Many will wonder how much of that distinction is being based on the ethnic or religious background of the perpetrators. 

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