29 November 2008


Banner headline at NYTimes.com right now.
  • Day of Reckoning as India Toll Passes 170
Further down the page, under the "more news" heading
  • Hundreds Feared Dead in Riots in Nigeria
I've been a bit perplexed by the American media's wall-to-wall coverage of the ongoing tragedy in Mumbai.  There surely hasn't been this much coverage of dead non-Americans since the Boxing Day Tsunami, and that was certainly a tragedy of a much more immense level.  While I'd like to think otherwise, I don't expect this signals the sudden start of new concern in the American press for the plight of people in the non-Anglophone world.  There are specifically two things at work here. 

1.  The Mumbai attacks were "terrorism" and that word, of course, piques special interest in its paradoxical role of giving Americans new things to be terrified about. 

2.  The attacks occured at two upscale luxury hotels, and several international business leaders were either victims or were at the scene.  This certainly attracts more ruling-class interest than hundreds of worthless Nigerian peasants being trampled to death, but even the London tube or Madrid train attacks didn't hold the media attention over several days the way this past week's events have.