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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Who Was To Blame When Beirut Was Forgotten?

Were the double suicide attacks by ISIS that killed 43 people in Beirut on Nov. 12 ignored by the media or the audience?

A debate on whether the double suicide attacks by ISIS that killed 43 people in Beirut on Nov. 12 has been ignored by media has been growing online. The controversy started shortly after the Paris attacks were all over mainstream outlets.

It started with a tweet from @Jackjonestv that has been retweeted 55,000 times. 

Then on today’s front pages of mainstream outlets, there were titles like “Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten” and “Beirut bombing: the other terrorist attack.”

The tweet claimed that no media has covered the Beirut attacks, which is not true. Also, the picture attached to the tweet is, according to, not from the Thursday attack, but from 2006, during Israel's war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

To say that the mainstream media have ignored the Beirut attacks, you have to define the word “ignore”. The New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, the Daily Mail and so on, have all published articles concerning the Beirut attacks, although not as thoroughly as the ones in Paris, according to some. 

“From a western perspective, the incident in Paris is more relatable than that in countries like Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Kenya and even Afghanistan, just name a few. There are stories that are tucked under the rug, because it seems to happen so much more often. But that’s not the justifiable reason for people in countries like that to be ignored by the media,” said Hali Hamidi, a USC student who also is a Muslim.

Hear about a Muslim's perspetive on media's portrait of Muslims.

In an editorial, the Chicago Tribune explained its viewpoint on the allegedly uneven media coverage. “Before most people outside the Middle East had a chance to absorb the implications of the Lebanon bombings, the terrorists struck Paris. The scope of that violence, and the fact that Islamic State could strike so far from the chaos of Syria and Iraq, represents a dangerous escalation of the threat to Europe, and to America.”

Beirut was forgotten, but who is to blame? The media or the audience? 

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