One of the most significant, if not the most significant, editorial choices of any news organization is what story it selects to feature at the top of its newspaper or website. For CNN all weekend it has been the accidental shooting by London Metropolitan Police of a Brazilian those police thought was connected to the terror bombings in the underground and then later realized was not.
Regrettable as this accident is – and it is obviously tragic for the individual and his family – for CNN it has pushed the bombings themselves off their front page, as well as the subsequent bombings in Sharm el-Sheik in which many dozens were murdered (quite intentionally, not accidentally) by homicidal Islamists. Never mind that – those “goofballs” in the London police force made a mistake. That’s what’s important.
Unlike the actions of London police, however, CNN’s decision was not an accident. It is deeply reactionary in its implications because it distracts the public from the most serious imaginable problem into the side issue of the culpability of a few working class cops and, by implication, those in charge of them, who were only trying to react in a desperate situation. When I say many in the media have become “objectively pro-fascist,” this is an example of what I mean. And not as small a one as it may seem.
UPDATE: After at least forty-eight hours of distraction, CNN has finally (7:25AM Pacific) changed its front page to the London police naming two bombing suspects. The link above is now defunct. And Richard McEnroe is correct when he points out, in the comments, that this was a mistaken shooting, not an accidental one. The police were trying to stop the man. (And we still don’t know why he was running.)