For the most part, the MSN is not in the business of reporting the news. This is sometimes difficult to remember, especially given the superficial resemblance between the language they use and straightforward reportage. Although the sentences they utter sound like assertions---in this case, assertions of ignorance as to motive---they are not. They are instructions to their audience as to what to think and say. The audience is well-trained: it recognizes its script and it knows what to do with it: it is to read from it until instructed otherwise. This is narrative journalism, in which the audience plays its part.
According to the narrative, there is no islamic terrorism. All the very best people---Obama, Cameron, Hollande, the prosecutor of the Boston bombings---know this. It has been declared to be a definitional truth, so it may not be gainsaid by any of your much-ballyhooed facts to the contrary. Thus is the narrative insulated from your so-called "reality"; and thus is the word of our Top Men made unimpeachable.
But the script writers have a problem: some of the investigators will be so unenlightened as to fail to understand that the world is as our Top Men say it is. If, in their foolishness, they create a great disturbance in the narrative by saying they've found some connection to Islam, the script will have the Chorus sing "self-radicalized", "lone wolf", and "domestic terrorism", with intimations of the "political illness" of Timothy McVeigh and those Confederate Republicans. Nothing will be allowed to embarrass our Top Men.
Labels: Culture, media, murder, The Press