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Anthrax Attacks: Does the Media Think We're Idiots?

October 16, 2001

When the first case of anthrax was discovered in Florida, pundits informed us that it was likely just a coincidence that a short time after the World Trade Center attacks, an American contracted this disease.  Even though this was the first anthrax case since the 1970's.  And even though it happened in an area where some of the September 11 hijackers lived.

The media explained to us that the victim, who worked at a tabloid newspaper, had engaged in outdoor activities where he could have contracted "natural" anthrax.

These denials of reality sounded as ridiculous then as they do now.

Anthrax Attack: Not Terrorism, They Say

When the second Florida anthrax case was discovered, the media said that it was "unlikely" two such cases would pop up "naturally" like that.  Gee, brilliant reasoning!

But, we were assured, these were probably not terrorist attacks, but the work of "criminals."  Well of course, as we all know, criminals often use anthrax in their endeavors, especially mailing it to people.

Seeking to bolster their claims, the media told us that prior incidents of biological/chemical attacks had also been "criminal" in nature, like the time in 1984 when food in an Oregon town was deliberately contaminated with salmonella, and the instance in 1992 where sarin gas was let loose in the Tokyo subway.

But of course, those acts, while being in violation of the law and therefore "criminal," were also terroristic.  The Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult and the cult in Oregon were trying to kill and terrorize the civilians in those areas for political purposes, precisely the definition of terrorism.

When anthrax was discovered in other locations -- the offices of NBC in New York and Senator Tom Daschle's (D-SD) office in Washington, D.C. -- the media continued their Alfred E. Neuman level of discourse by wondering out loud whether these and the prior Florida instances were "related."  No, there just happen to be a bunch of unconnected individuals in all three areas who possess anthrax and have personal grudges against the media and the U.S. government.

Anthrax Attack: No Osama bin Laden Link, They Say

Finally, after all this, government officials and the media seem to be acknowledging these events for what they are: bioterrorism.

But their newest claim is to have no direct evidence that Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda group were the responsible terrorists.  Yup, there's some previously unknown group of terrorists with the financial wherewithal and scientific acumen to acquire, develop and spread anthrax. 

A friend suggested that perhaps the media and government officials were trying to downplay the terrorism angle and bin Laden connection from the very beginning to minimize fear and panic.  Perhaps.

But I'd personally feel a lot more secure if the media and government didn't try to deny reality for our sake, because it means they think we're stupid enough to buy their feeble denials.  And if they think we're that stupid, what other kind of dissembling will they think they can get away with?

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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