This should be the biggest story of the year so far. I have no great insight to offer here. I just think we should, perhaps, be more concerned about this than we appear to be.
Authorities discovered a compound in New Mexico where a group of adults were teaching kids how to be school shooters. Eleven children were rescued and the remains of another were recovered. Rifles, pistols, and ammunition were also discovered on the property, along with a shooting range and a couple of makeshift living quarters. The kids were dressed in rags and starving to death.
If this does not qualify as jaw-dropping news, I’m not sure what does. You would expect it to be the lead on every news broadcast and the top story on every news website. You would expect it to be the number one trending topic across social media. You would expect it to be driving the national conversation. But it is not attracting that level of interest from practically anyone. If the terrorists were Christian fundamentalists or white supremacists, you can bet the reaction would be quite a bit more explosive. As it happens, however, the primary culprit goes by the name Siraj Ibn Wahhaj. Two of the other adults involved are named Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj. They are, as their names seem to indicate, Muslim.
In fact, Wahhaj’s father is an infamous Imam in New York, leader of The Muslim Alliance in North America, and allegedly tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He was never charged with any crime in that case, but he did take the stand in defense of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind of the attack. He’s been on the government’s radar for 25 years, yet somehow his son managed to set up a terrorist training camp in an American state.
Prior to this case, if some conspiracy theorist had speculated that terrorists might be abducting children, dragging them into the desert, and teaching them how to shoot up schools, we would have laughed at him. Now that such a thing has actually occurred — well, we still might laugh at the conspiracy theorist, because most people seem to be entirely unaware of this case.
Granted, the media has reported the basic details of the story. That’s how I found about it, after all. This is usually how media bias works. They can always deflect accusations that they are ignoring or burying a story by pointing out that they have, technically, reported the facts. But of course it’s not just about reporting the facts. It’s about the attention those facts are given. The facts in this case, especially the fact that the suspects are jihadists, have not been given anything close to the appropriate amount of attention. A terrorist training camp for school shooters is being treated like an obscure, largely irrelevant news item. And this treatment is due solely to the demographics of the suspects.
This is why our media has earned, and continues to earn, the label “fake news.”