Among those of us more inured to such tragedies, it has become a learned response to simply turn off the sound on the TV, or turn to other stories on the internet, until the craziness of the first hours (or days) begins to settle down from the rampant speculation, mostly pulled out of thin air, that the 24-hour news outlets are compelled to keep up in the competitive 'all bombing, all the time' feeding frenzy. (This is before it settles into its natural follow-on state, which I call the 'Princess Diana is still dead' coverage.)
Let me say first how impressive it was after the first few days that the investigation developed a picture of the two bombers in such a short time, aided by the large number of snapshots by the bystanders. Narrowing down the perpetrators amongst such a large and confusing amount of data in so short a time is truly commendable.
[The actual reference should be to acetone peroxide (TATP or TCAP), capable of being created outside of a laboratory but difficult to store or handle. As for the attack in "Oregon", that involved a crude explosive device, a mechanism more intimidating than dangerous, found in a backpack in Spokane, Washington in 2011. The single suspect in the case was a self-described psychopath, rejected even by supremacist groups. Bergen's 'expertise' was wrong on all counts.]
Amina Ismail of McClatchy Newspapers caught Jay Carney off guard during a press conference when she equated the Boston bombings with an Air Force stike in Afghanistan that killed civilians. Rather than refute her assertion, Carney referred her to the DoD.
There is also Dina Temple-Raston of taxpayer-supported NPR who breathlessly reminds us of the "thinking" (whose?) that "this is a domestic, extremist attack and officials are leaning that way largely because of the timing of the attack. April is a big month for anti-government and right-wing individuals. There's the Columbine anniversary, there's Hitler's birthday, there's the Oklahoma City bombing, the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco." ABC's Pierre Thomas rattled off much the same list on Good Morning America.
Perhaps the most famous foul-up involved repeated predictions by television-showcased academic experts who echoed each other in a morbid mutual admiration society during the three week Beltway Sniper shooting spree in October 2002. They continued to parrot the prediction that the shooter was an angry white male in his mid-20s to early 30s, driving a white van, right up to the end when two black males, John Allen Muhammed, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, jihadi converts, were arrested at a rest stop in a dark blue Chevrolet Caprice.
The media have reached an obscene level of effort in trying to pound round facts into the square hole of their wishful thinking. They warn the American people against some sort of racist reaction to the thought that this could be (another) attack fomented by Islamic Supremacists, yet gleefully paint with broad brush indeed their perception that the (not quite so) extreme Right is ready to slaughter innocents. They are quick to suggest white extremists but choke on the word 'Islamic'. What about the 'root cause' of a religion hijacked by terrorists, and the silence of those who should be trying to wrest it back?