Chip Berlet of Talk To Action delves intelligently into the media coverage of the Boston bombing case:
Much media coverage of the worldview and motivation of the suspects in the Boston bombing case--one now dead--was sensational and provocative. Very little of it, however, relied on experts who use contemporary rather than outdated and discredited social science. Discussions of the possible role of religion were often stilted or stifled.
Contemporary sociological theory contends that:
- Most people who join social movements, political movements, or religious movements are not mentally ill or stupid. They have adopted an ideology and constructed an identity that in their view justifies their actions--whether these actions are deemed constructive or destructive by society.
- The vast majority of movement activists never engage in violence.
- There is no correlation linking religious piety with violence.
- The radicalization process itself does not cause violence.
- Dissent, movement activism, and non-violent civil disobedience are part of the democratic process in civil society.
So we asked a variety of respected academics, researchers, and analysts of movements and political violence to craft an answer to this question: "As a person with expertise, what would you tell a reporter who wanted to know what she or he needs to know to craft a better, more informed story about the Boston bombings as details emerge?"
Click through to read responses from Assoc. Prof. Julie Ingersoll, Prof. Cynthia Burack, Prof. Lauren Langman, Devorah Kalekin-Fishman, Assoc. Prof. Jeffery M. Bale, Mustafa E. Gurbuz, and Bill Fletcher, Jr.