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Internet questions lack of media coverage of NAACP office bombing

Is the media ignoring the bomb?


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on Jan 7, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 8:08 pm CDT

One day after the FBI called an explosion outside a Colorado NAACP office building “deliberate,” #NAACPBomb is a top worldwide trending topic on Twitter

Almost all of the hashtag’s thousands of tweets are criticizing the mainstream media for their lack of coverage of the attack.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is a 106-year-old civil rights organization—one of the oldest in the country—that has played a key role in countless political battles over the last century. On Tuesday, someone planted an improvised explosive device on the wall of the group’s Colorado Springs office, right next to a gasoline can that failed to ignite, according to the FBI.

“All of a sudden I heard this big boom,” one witness told CNN affiliate KDVR. “There was smoke everywhere, the building on the side was burnt.”

The FBI’s primary suspect is a balding white male who looks about 40 years old. Curiously, major outlets like CNN neglect to mention the suspect’s race despite police providing that information.

The bombing received precious little coverage on TV the day after it occurred. Even some locals said they had barely heard anything about what had happened.

“The investigation is ongoing and it is not known at this time if the NAACP or a business in the vicinity was the intended target,” FBI spokeswoman Amy Sanders said in a statement. “There are no known injuries at this time and minor damage to the building and sidewalk where the explosion occurred.”

Other than the NAACP office, the nearest business was a barber shop in the same building.

“We don’t know what it was, don’t know if it was directed at us,” Carol Chippey-Rhanes, the NAACP branch director’s assistant, told USA Today. “Of course, I doubt anyone was targeting Mr. G’s hair studio.”

She expressed optimism after seeing the number of police, both federal and local, investigating the crime.

The attack struck a chord for many reasons. First, the NAACP, along with many other civil rights organizations, has long been on the receiving end of violent attacks that produced grievous injuries and even fatalities.

Second, although many people are talking about the bombing online, mainstream news coverage has been far quieter. After the endless coverage of violence during riots in Ferguson, Mo., the media’s silence on a story of potential white-on-black domestic terrorism looks nothing short of intentional to many critics. It has been called blatantly racist by an increasingly vocal crowd.

It’s worth remembering that social media outrage can be a potent weapon to gain media attention. The news media initially ignored the shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, until the social media furor became so intense that it was virtually impossible to cover anything else.

The FBI asks that anyone with information call its Denver tip line at (303) 435-7787.

Correction: The NAACP is one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the U.S. The National Rifle Association (NRA), founded in 1871, pre-dates the NAACP by approximately 37 years.

Photo via Kevin Simpson (CC BY SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 7, 2015, 9:26 am CST