There Were Two Bombings, But Only One Story

Why the Lack of Lebanon Coverage Matters


Anderson Graphics

Screenshot from CNN International’s coverage, largely ignored in favor of the Paris reporting.

Z Goodman, Staff Reporter

Thursday, November 12th was not a normal day for the citizens of Beirut, Lebanon. Two suicide bombers had bombed the Bourj al-Barajneh district of southern Beirut. 43 people were killed during these attacks and approximately 239 are injured. According to CNN International, the radical Islamic terrorist group ISIS has taken credit for these attacks, and nine people are currently being held and interrogated on matters involving the attacks.

The following day there were attacks in Paris killing approximately 139 people are injuring many more. The attacks of Paris completely overshadowed the attacks in Beirut, while France gained all of the attention from International and Western news outlets like newspapers and television here in America. So while ISIS claimed both attacks and people died in both places, some are asking why was there far less coverage of Lebanon?

It could be said that news outlets could have ignored the Beirut attacks as a result of the there being a higher death toll in Paris, but even then people still lost there lives to the same exact terrorist group. Just because less people lost their lives does not mean the event is less significant and doesn’t deserve equal news coverage.

News outlets could have been ignoring the attacks because of what kind of people were killed during the attacks. In Paris, mostly white European people were killed, causing both anger and a new wave of Islamophobia among Western countries. However, when the so-called Muslims of ISIS proceeded to kill other Muslims in a middle-eastern country, no one seemed to be phased by the attacks. 

As a case in point, Facebook even created a feature the Saturday following the Paris attacks, to apply an overlay of your profile picture with the French flag but did not have this for the Lebanese flag. The Lebanese however did receive some support from social media. The hashtags #PrayForLebanon and #PrayForBeirut began trending shortly after the attacks. A day of mourning was also held in Beirut on November the 13th(BBC). However, this does not begin to give the amount of justice and support a country needs when something as tragic as this happens.

The difference in treatment of the two bombings, less than 24 hours apart, also highlights also how little we in America understand ISIS.  But that may be because our news media doesn’t often acknowledge that ISIS has killed far more Muslims than Christians.

The lack of news coverage that the Lebanese received from Western news outlet is just a classic example of the ethnocentrism that western countries feel towards predominantly Muslims countries. The lack of empathy that was relayed as result of the Lebanon attacks is revealing and by far highly unacceptable.