September 19, 2016

AP Is Already Fretting Over St. Cloud Stabbing Spree ‘Backlash,’ Relegates Hero Who Stopped the Attack to Paragraphs Near End

As has so often been the case in the wake of terrorist attacks, the press is de-prioritizing what actually occurred during the St. Cloud, Minnesota mall stabbing spree in favor of a “watch out for the backlash” narrative.

This is what occurred at the Associated Press late Monday afternoon, where the headline at the dispatch by Kyle Potter and Amy Forliti reads: “SOMALI COMMUNITY BRACES FOR MINNESOTA MALL ATTACK BACKLASH.” It’s as if the awful “backlash” will definitely happen, even though in so many other analogous instances it hasn’t. Meanwhile, details about the attack and how it was thwarted before more innocents were harmed have been shunted down to far later text, including saving the name of the hero who shot and killed the perpetrator for two out of the final three of 23 paragraphs.

The AP pair also gave voice to those who don’t want to call the attack terrorism (bolds are mine throughout this post):

SOMALI COMMUNITY BRACES FOR MINNESOTA MALL ATTACK BACKLASH

Leaders of Minnesota’s large Somali community acknowledged the prospect of a “long winter” for their people in the wake of the weekend’s mall stabbings by a young Somali man, but warned Monday not to quickly accept the terrorism connection.

Authorities are treating Saturday’s stabbings, which wounded nine people at Crossroads Center Mall, as a possible act of terrorism, in part because an Islamic State-run news agency claimed that the attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had heeded the group’s calls for attacks in countries that are part of a U.S.-led anti-IS coalition.

But it wasn’t immediately known whether the extremist group had planned the attack or knew about it beforehand. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said the attack appeared to be the work of a single individual and there was no sign that the attacker, identified by his father as 20-year-old Dahir Adan, was radicalized or communicated with any terrorist group.

The motive of Saturday’s attack is still unclear, but FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Rick Thornton has said it is being investigated as a “potential act of terrorism.” Authorities were digging into Adan’s background and possible motives, looking at social media accounts and electronic devices and talking to his associates, Thornton said.

If the stabbings are ultimately deemed a terrorist act, it would be the first carried out by a Somali on U.S. soil.

Bob Owens at Bearing Arms writes that Adan “apparently asked victims if they were Muslims before stabbing them.” As seen in a Google News search, this is a known fact. Potter and Forliti at the Associated Press, working to ensure that it doesn’t become widely known, did not report it.

To explain the reluctance to call terrorism by its real name, it would help to introduce a term which is apparently fairly common in the law-enforcement community but which, for reasons which will become obvious to those who know the ways of the U.S. establishment press, has not made its way into many media reports.

That term is “franchise terrorism.” It appears at coverage of Saturday night’s Chelsea bombing in New York City at Indianapolis TV station Fox 59 who did her homework and interviewed an expert, but it would likely also apply to St. Cloud:

Experts: Attack in Chelsea considered ‘franchise terrorism’

Terrorism expert, Peter Beering, says he believes the (Chelsea) explosion and another attempted explosion are considered “franchise terrorism.” That’s when extremist groups encourage members to attack at any opportunity.

“Instead of a highly centralized plot being controlled from some faraway place, that this is radicalized elements that have acted on opportunity that they see happening in their immediate vicinity,” Beering said.

These types of terror acts are more common than planned out and plotted attacks in America, according to experts. In this case, there were no major scheduled events centralized around the attack. Saturday night in Chelsea was any average night for residents and visitors. Beering said he believes that is the exact point terrorists look to make.

“Terrorism is the exercise in frightening a population and what could be more fighting than detonating an explosive device in a Chelsea like kind of a neighborhood where there isn’t anything particularly drawing attention to it,” Beering said.

The AP dispatch on St. Cloud, paired with the above description of “franchise terrorism,” closely follows the expert’s definition:

  • AP — ”calls for attacks in countries that are part of a U.S.-led anti-IS coalition”; Fox 59 — “extremist groups encourage members to attack at any opportunity.”
  • AP — “it wasn’t immediately known whether the extremist group (ISIS) had planned the attack or knew about it beforehand”; Fox 59 – “acted on opportunity that they see happening in their immediate vicinity.”
  •  AP — “the attack appeared to be the work of a single individual” with no sign that “he was radicalized or communicated with any terrorist group”; Fox 59 — Well of course it looks that way, because ”There doesn’t have to be any back and forth communication. It’s one way.”

Now that it has been explained, it’s pretty clear that the authorities, and especially the press, has little interest in characterizing “franchise terrorism” as a genuine form of terrorism in their pronouncements and news reports, respectively. They like “lone wolf attack” so much better, even though, now that “franchise terrorism” has been explained, “lone wolves” are usually influenced and subtly directed by jihadist terrorists.

There is an important difference in St. Cloud, which may but doesn’t necessarily eliminate it as “franchise terrorism.” The Chelsea bomber, Ahmad Khan Rahami, who has been captured, had every intention of getting away with his handiwork. It’s hard to imagine that St. Cloud mall stabber Dahir Adan thought he could escape without apprehension or worse, and he didn’t. But then again, radical Islam attempts to impress the heavenly benefits of martyrdom on its jihadists. If that’s what Adan was looking for, he got his wish, as finally seen Paragraphs 21 and 22 of the AP report:

Anderson has said the man began attacking people right after entering the mall, stabbing people in several spots. The victims included seven men, one woman and a 15-year-old girl.

Five minutes after authorities received the first 911 call, Jason Falconer, a part-time officer in the city of Avon who was there shopping, began shooting the attacker as he was lunging at him with the knife, Anderson said, and continued to engage him as the attacker got up three times.

Avon Police Chief Corey Nellis said Monday that Falconer owns a firing range and is the city’s firearms instructor. “If I was going to ask anybody to fire … live rounds in a crowded mall, I would trust his abilities next to anybody’s,” Nellis said.

The AP pair had a chance to name Falconer in Paragraph 10, and passed on it:

Federal officials released no new information Monday on the investigation into the stabbing, which was stopped by an off-duty police officer just minutes into it.

The wire service fully knows that most broadcast news outlets won’t read material from very late paragraphs over the air, that many other news outlets won’t publish the full AP report, especially in print, and that many if not most readers who have the full report available to them won’t read through to the article’s end. So the AP has done its part to say, “See, we covered the hero,” while ensuring that as few people as possible learn much about who he is.

Besides, as seen earlier, most important thing in AP-Land is the fear of the supposedly inevitable backlash which in reality rarely occurs.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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