Rabat - On October 6, the security of Asheville Regional Airport thwarted a bombing attack carried by a United States citizen who later told the FBI that he wanted to “fight a war on U.S. soil.” The poor national and international media coverage of the attack is sparking the ire of many activists in the country.
Rabat – On October 6, the security of Asheville Regional Airport thwarted a bombing attack carried by a United States citizen who later told the FBI that he wanted to “fight a war on U.S. soil.” The poor national and international media coverage of the attack is sparking the ire of many activists in the country.
An improvised explosive device was found on October 6 at a terminal in the Asheville Regional Airport. After reviewing the surveillance footage, the FBI identified 46-year-old Michael Christopher Estes as the man who planted the bomb and arrested him the next morning.
Estes is an Asheville local with a heavy criminal record. He was released from jail on September 28 after serving 7 days for attacking a man with a hatchet and a knife earlier this year, despite being sentenced to up to 21 months.
Currently, Estes is accused of attempted malicious use of explosive materials and unlawful possession of explosive materials in an airport, according to the criminal complaint filed by the FBI.
After his arrest, Estes confessed he had placed the bomb at the Asheville airport, telling the FBI that he was “getting ready to fight a war on US soil.”
However, other than a few reports by local media and some national outlets, the news about the thwarted bombing attack has not drawn the media attention garnered by other plots, like Orlando nightclub shooting.
The poor media coverage on this home grown terrorist has been sparking the ire of activists and social media users, who cried foul over what they saw as the double standards of major media outlets.
not a peep about Michael Estes today
— Myke (@isthismyke) October 10, 2017
Do you know who Michael Christopher Estes is? You should. He tried to bomb an airport last Friday. Why don’t you know? #Terrorism
— David Kopf (@davidkfiction) October 12, 2017
Snopes, a fact-checking American website said that “as of 12 October 2017, there have been a handful of stories about Estes, mostly syndicated from an Associated Press report; it is true that it has gone largely without coverage or comment.”
Many speculated that the reason behind this underreporting is Estes’ race, saying it follows a pattern that violent attacks are not labeled “terrorism” when planned by white people.
Investigative news outlet The Intercept also pointed out the peculiar underreporting of the event in a column entitled “The Airport Bomber From Last Week You Never Heard About.”
“The story didn’t go viral and Trump didn’t tweet about it because the bomb was not placed by an immigrant, or a Muslim, or a Mexican,” speculated The Intercept. “It was placed there by a good ol’ white man, Michael Christopher Estes. Unlike the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, whose motive is still hard to discern, Estes wanted to be very clear that his ultimate goal was to accelerate a war on American soil.”
“His actions aren’t an indictment of his whole faith, political outlook, and race,” the website continued. “White people aren’t, thanks to Estes, suddenly labeled terrorists or seen as a threat to American safety in the way that would almost certainly happen had it been anybody other than a white man.”
For Salon, an American news and opinion website, “the profile of Estes is politically relevant, as President Donald Trump often jumps at the opportunity to declare violent acts ‘terrorism’ solely because of the profile of the perpetrator.”
The website goes on to explain that Trump has also “ignored or washed over acts of terrorism when they are perpetrated by right-wing and/or white suspects,” a fact all the more irking as the president in renowned for using fear of terrorism as a justification for banning travel from Muslim-majority nations.
While one justification of the low coverage of the event could be Estes ethnicity, others speculated that the reason could simply be newsroom logistics in coverage.
“there are other factors that may have gone into the relative lack of coverage,” wrote Snopes “The fact that the bombing was thwarted, making the story relatively low-priority; the fact that still-shrinking newsrooms have to pick and choose their stories; and the fact that newsrooms are so inundated with national and international stories in 2017 that this particular item might not have even registered.”