Allentown is slightly on the outskirts of Philadelphia. It is somewhere in between Centre County and Philadelphia County.
I watched (with horror) the social media video hit of the aftermath of the car explosions (explosions plural because there were three according to residents and witnesses); meanwhile, (knowing it was Saturday night), I kept hitting refresh on the main news pages, waiting for the story to break. Therefore, in the aftermath of the explosion, much of my news came from social media. Videos were flying around. They were gruesome. They depicted residents filming corpses under coroner’s sheets and body parts on the streets.
It felt like a third world country.
When the news finally (I mean finally) did break in Allentown press, it was inaccurate. More of the social media posts flew around. The Morning Call had reported that three men had been killed, including the “perpetrator” of this crime. They did not release the names of the victims or any information about them, except that there were three males. For the second time, I began to learn from social media that there was a toddler killed in this crime.
Fast forward to Sunday morning, and the press (despite social media) was still claiming only three male victims. This time, a pompous number of officials took to a grandiose and highly excited press conference. The media did not act as the media should. They did not pelt them with hard questions and demand answers. They ignored the “social media reporting” and didn’t ask, assuming law enforcement must be expertise in their investigation.
They published the most sycophantic and inaccurate news stories I have ever read. “Only three men have died” and “the perpetrator died in the explosion.” This contradicted everything that I was reading in social media reports, which would later turn out to be true. I was so confused reading, I couldn’t tell who was telling the truth. Monday would come and media would retract, “oops, there was a fourth victim,” affirming social media reports.
Law enforcement insisted on one explosion, yet witnesses were swearing that multiple “explosions” were occurring, and they were the ones present at the scene. Later media would retract that too, admitting there were multiple witnesses and residents hearing three explosions.
Law enforcement had insisted that the threat had been mitigated because this “perpetrator” had died in the explosion. They comforted the public in some impulsive press conference, where they spewed a number of mistruths they would later retract, only one day later. Yet none of the decedent victims’ families were really looking like the typical suicide bomber type.
There were rumors flying about, propagated by lazy press hound lapdogs willing to publish anything law enforcement officials said. It was after all the weekend. Still the families took to the quiet back waves of social media. All of them were in shock and in denial, all of them denying that there loved one could possibly be responsible.
And indeed, the immediate insistence that the person who caused the explosion was in the car, seemed like a drastically and stupidly premature assessment to make. If they couldn’t get the body count or basic facts right, how can they go on the news hours after this occurrence and declare to have such definitive answers.
But it was worse than that. Despite the media law enforcement spokes people insisting that there were only three adult male victims, in the back channels of social media the victims of a child who died in the explosion was reeling and posting photos. As if there loved one had been overlooked or forgotten. They were essentially SCREAMING: A child also died here. Photos were circulating. I was wondering why nobody was publishing or announcing that, and how in the world the police and investigatory bodies could have possibly come to the conclusion (and so fast) that the perpetrator died in the fire.
If they didn’t even know the body count, how is it they could possibly swear to a hungry public that the threat had been mitigated and eliminated? If they couldn’t even get the body count right, how could they relay these facts.
Still it got worse, the reeling family members on social media were demanding why the death of the toddler was not announced. Media representatives from the Morning Call provided them a non-answer: “We published what they told us.” Family members who were reeling with grief were dissatisfied with that answer for the same reasons I listed above, and then plus some. They wanted to know why it wasn’t reported to the media.
Was this whole entire event being minimized?
I dug in a little after the very contrived, “everything is just fine here”, press release by the cops wherein the local press rolled over like the political lapdogs they are and refused to ask any questions.
Meanwhile, in all this confusion, locals were going through shock. “Was it an asteroid? Was it a meth lab on wheels? Why aren’t they telling us what we need to know? How come our paper isn’t asking the right questions? Why did nobody report on the dead baby despite multiple people seeing baby (and Baby’s blown apart parts) covered under sheet? Why are witnesses and social media reporting one thing (three explosions), and the media is reporting one explosion by white-guy turned suicide bomber?”
An epidemic of fear and hysteria spread over a small community, with a very lazy media who was refusing to ask the hard questions and publishing what they were told to publish.
The epidemic continued when an argument began after the Sunday morning press conference wherein cops insisted on “one explosion.” Still multiple witnesses and residents heard “three” explosions. All of this was very contradictory facts, and any casual reader would have trouble figuring out what to believe what with the veracity of the press stating only one singular explosion, and then so many witnesses to the scene claiming three.
Already, despite failing on getting the body count numbers right, members of the DA office and police units were walking glibly up to podiums announcing their certainties. They were proclaiming “facts” that would prove to be patently false and rudely represented to a lazy media that just reprinted those facts.
“What about dead toddler?” The public screamed.
“There were three adult male victims,” insisted the media spokesperson. Press nodded and scribbled or typed furiously. All the people on social media must be lying.
When bigger papers questioned them on this mis-representation of facts, the local media responded that they believed the police had to notify the family’s of the victims first. How could that be true?
Not possible. The media was reporting that there were three unidentified adult males dead as result of explosion. The media would not be identifying a fourth victim if they had simply said there was a fourth, a child fourth. They would not have to even identify the sex.
For all these impulsively and irresponsibly reported inaccuracies, yet there was more that would make me sick. All of a sudden they were claiming the threat is mitigated and eliminated and that the “perpetrator” had been killed by the explosion. How is the public supposed to believe that after all the other factual inaccuracies?
So suddenly….. oh so suddenly…… three white guys and a toddler get into a car and the car explodes due to “criminal intent” …… So suddenly a white guy out of Allentown became a suicide bomber overnight and he was NOT an extremist? It makes zero sense.
And how could law enforcement have known so quickly (even before purportedly having any accurate body count) that the perpetrator had died in the explosion?
And still, if the threat was out of the way, then why is there still now a “stay in place” order that isn’t allowing residents on a five block radius to leave their homes or others to enter.
If you can’t believe what is written in the media, then your town has problems. Clearly the media has lied, or impulsively published facts on several occasions. What their motivation is? I suspect it’s all out laziness. Ignoring the grief over the toddleer on social media, and not asking the right questions and publishing exactly what they are told is not good journalism.
Monday, they take to the press, “Oh by the way, there was a little three year old boy killed here too with his father in the car.”
If the media outlet LIES to you, when they should have no motivation to do so, then why believe them. They are either incompetent or crooked, and what happened in Allentown was a disgusting media travesty….
….. which continues till now.
So what really happened here? Because the theories are flying, anywhere from meteor crash, to alien abduction, to rolling meth lab, to terrorism. Nobody is giving a hint of what is going on.
Morning Call published a dumb-it-down story “987 explosions occur a year per federal report”. I got pissed off reading it, as in: How many of those 987 explosions are of “criminal intent” and result in multiple fatalities. Seemingly the Allentown lazy-ass press still wants to publish “feel-good” stories instead of the truth. They still aren’t asking the hard questions or interested in publishing the facts.
What are the facts? Who knows? Normally I would rely on the media to tell me but they can’t seem to get their stories straight, and none of them are asking the hard and necessary questions, or can even get the body count straight.
So far, the “breaking news” stories I rely on come from social media channels and people telling me and reaching out. Who knows what is going on? I trust NOT the media, as they have gotten every fact wrong. They wait for national news to break the stories and then they follow up with excuses for why it wasn’t report it in the first place.
That isn’t news-media, that is propoganda.
The threat is mitigated and eliminated? Is that some sort of sick joke? I’m getting my breaking news from social media reporters BECAUSE I don’t trust that reporting. Once a journalist lies to me, we are done. So was it terrorism? Morning Call says it was not. They said within hours that the perpetrator was killed in explosion, they also got the body count wrong.
I’ll believe it when a national paper comes out with the news. Other than that, morning call is a joke, and a disgrace. You want to know where your paper’s loyalty lies? Wait for a tragedy and see which “facts” they print first. In your case, it was a bunch of conniving low level local politicians who reported the basic facts falsely.
“There were body parts all over, and a baby under a coroner’s sheet”, (confirmed by bystanders filming). Press? Three men died here and one of them build the “criminal” explosive that caused the deaths. Press? “It wasn’t a bomb, it was a ‘criminal explosion’ and perpetrator is dead.” Me: “What the hell is the difference between a bomb and intentiaonal criminal explosion?!!!!” Press: “it wasn’t terrorist related.” Me: “Sure, because white men from Allentown become suicide bombers overnight.”
What a disgrace. Stop reading the Morning Call. Clearly they do not know what they are talking about and don’t care.