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December 3, 2008
Fast News Beats Slow News (Mumbai Massacre)
Mickey Kaus often makes refreshingly clear observations. His analysis of the reporting on the Mumbai massacre is a good example: Read the Times story and you'll see a numbing litany of "systemic" problems with Indian security, including "Ill-paid city police [who] are often armed with little more than batons," and "little information-sharing among law enforcement agencies" and all that inadequate equipment, including "old, bulky bulletproof jackets" and lack of those high-power scopes and "no technology at their disposal to determine where the firepower was coming from ..." [E.A.] It reads like the budget-increase proposal submitted by the Mumbai police bureaucracy--The Indian Omnibus Anti-Terror Funding Act of 2009. [emphases in original]
Nowhere in the NYT story will you learn what American blog readers learned a day earlier when Instapundit (among others) linked to the Belfast story: Police had lots of guns, and no problem seeing who and where the terrorists were, but they wouldn't shoot at them.
I'm used to a sort of Liebling-like hierarchy of news sources, with twitterers and bloggers being fastest, but maybe less reliable, while the grand institutions of the MSM weigh in later with more comprehensive and accurate accounts. But that's not what is happening with this Mumbai story. The "fast" sources are telling you what happened. The "slow" MSM sources are using their extra time to sanitize what's happened, to build euphemistic assumptions into their very reporting of the events themselves--in this case, it just so happens, liberal assumptions:1) the idea that there is no problem that can't be solved by greater funding for government bureaucracies and more interagency taskforces... 2) the predisposition to think widely-distributed small arms and a willingness to use them can never be a good idea and 3) an antipathy to any suggestion that an aspect of foreign culture is inferior to nasty American culture. (Maybe we Americans are trigger happy. But do we think that a handful of terrorists could have gone on a similar rampage in New York City without quite quickly encountering a fair number of cops who would have shot back -- let alone armed civilians who did the same)?