Media manipulation over school bombing in Brindisi

Last Saturday morning a bomb exploded outside the vocational college for young women “Morvillo-Falcone” in the Southern city of Brindisi, killing a teenage girl, Melissa Bassi, and severely wounding several other classmates.

Submitted by Italy Calling on May 22, 2012

The school is named after the anti-Mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone’s wife, Francesca Morvillo, herself also a judge. Both were killed at the hands of the Mafia in a highway bombing in Sicily in 1992. Nevertheless, there were no immediate claims of responsibility for Saturday’s bombing, nothing that could link it to organised crime.

Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri claimed in an interview that she was struck by the school’s name, but that there were no elements to blame the attack on organized crime, which usually targets specific figures, such as judges, prosecutors, or rival mobsters, and not civilian targets.

Today, after a whole day of questioning and media lynching, a man who’d been suspected of triggering the device has been released. The media feasted on the tragedy, filling hours of TV talk shows with “experts” proferring their hypotheses on the attack: mafia organisations of all sorts looking to ruin the 20 year anniversary of Falcone and his Close Protection team’s murder, or wanting to threaten the local magistrates and the nearby Tribunal; a Mediterranean Al-Qaeda who’d have chosen the school to target women; and the ever-present twin shadows of conspiracy and terrorism.

Nobody considered what is the most plausible hypothesis, that is, that behind the bombing there might be a mentally ill person or even worse (and even more plausible) a misogynist. Or perhaps some “lone wolf” from the military elite, or simply some freelancer fascinated with the American taste for violence.

While indicators keep emerging every day pointing to the individualistic nature of the attack, the media keep blabbing about the return of the political violence of the 80s. Many have warned against a new “strategy of tension”. The just, collective fury against the bombing becomes a weapon in the hands of the media, which use it to manipulate and create new scapegoats (or revamp old ones).

This is the final product of the “Americanisation” of life we’ve been experiencing over the last two decades, where individual tragedies are turned into a show, but no analysis is made on the social and economic causes: a way of life that uses television as its main tool of de-politicisation of the masses.

Sources for this articles: pieces from Reuters and Ansa, and, for the critical analysis, “Idiocy Fair” by InfoAut (in Italian).

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