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Sleeping On Seattle Story

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It's usually not much of a surprise when a celebrity story takes hold in the media. We like to blow such stories out of proportion – be it Paris Hilton's latest ramblings or a story with a little more of a serious edge to it. But it's not everyday when our priorities seem so out of whack when it comes to the news we actually pay attention to. Boston Globe media columnist Jeff Jacoby explains his puzzlement over one recent example. Jacoby compares two stories, "Incident A" is the well-known Mel Gibson drunk driving arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic rant. Jacoby continues:
By any rational calculus, Incident B was far more significant. According to police and eyewitness reports, the killer forced his way into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle by holding a gun to the head of a 13-year-old girl. Once inside, Naveed Haq announced, "I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel," and opened fire with two semiautomatic pistols. Pam Waechter died on the spot; five other women were shot in the abdomen, knee, or arm. When one of the women managed to call 911, Haq took the phone and told the dispatcher: "These are Jews and I'm tired of getting pushed around and our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East."

At a time when jihadist murder is a global threat and some of the most malevolent figures in the Islamic world -- Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah, to name just two -- openly incite violence against Americans and Jews, the attack in Seattle should have been a huge story everywhere. Yet after six days, a Nexis search turned up only 236 stories mentioning Haq -- one-fourth the number dealing with Gibson's drunken outburst. Why the disparity?

Great question, any ideas?
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