As soon as the Boston Marathon bombing was described as a terrorist attack, I knew that it would be blamed on Muslim extremists from the Middle East. I believe that most of America felt that way because of 9-11 and other terrorist attacks carried out by such extremists but most people were not too quick to point the finger for fear that these mad men may actually be "home grown" terrorists. But there was one reporter who decided to blatantly single out one group and place the blame on them.
CNN's John King caused some controversy on Wednesday when he said that a potential suspect in the Boston bombings was a "dark-skinned male."
King was the first to report that law enforcement officials had identified a suspect in Monday's bloody attacks.
Eventually, of course, King's entire thesis turned out to be false. Federal authorities made clear that there was no suspect in the attacks yet. At the time, though, he appeared to have a scoop.
"I want to be very careful about this, because people get very sensitive when you say these things," he said. "I was told by one of these sources who is a law enforcement official that this is a dark-skinned male."
That could be every man in my family. But none of us live in Boston, visit Boston, or are terrorists.
King said that there had been a further description given, but he was refraining from sharing it with viewers.
"There are some people who will take offense for even saying that," he said. "I understand that."
In other words he was so hungry for an exclusive that he didn't care who he offended, and so confident in the validity of his information that he ran with it.
King then went on to say, "We can't say whether the person spoke with a foreign accent, or an American accent?" Wolf Blitzer asked. "That would be premature."
King repeated that he was only going to use the "dark-skinned male" description, saying that sometimes information did not turn out to be true.
"I'm making a personal judgment, forgive me, I think it's the right judgment not to try to inflame tensions," King said. "They say it's a dark-skinned male."
Notice he never says who "they" are and he seems determined, and assertive in his claim. He also went on to say that it was his "personal judgement". But what was it based on?
The very next day according to reports, two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle overnight that left one of them dead and his brother on the loose, authorities said Friday as thousands of officers swarmed the streets in a manhunt that all but paralyzed the Boston area.
The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and a family member as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, brothers from a Russian region near Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, an uncle said.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said. His 19-year-old brother dubbed Suspect No. 2 was seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday's deadly bombing at the marathon finish line escaped.
Authorities in Boston suspended all mass transit and warned close to 1 million people in the entire city and some of its suburbs to stay indoors as the hunt went on. Businesses were asked not to open. People waiting at bus and subway stops were told to go home.
From Watertown to Cambridge, police SWAT teams, sharpshooters and FBI agents with armored vehicles surrounded various buildings as police helicopters buzzed overhead.
"We believe this man to be a terrorist," said Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis, who urged all nearby residents to stay in their homes unless police are present. "We believe this to be a man who's come here to kill people."
Authorities said surveillance tape recorded late Thursday showed Suspect No. 2 during a robbery of a convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of MIT, where a university police officer identified as 26-year-old Sean Collier was shot to death while responding to a report of a disturbance, said State Police Col Timothy Alben.
From there, authorities said, the two men carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz, keeping him with them in the car for half an hour before releasing him at a gas station in Cambridge. The man was not injured.
The search for the vehicle led to a chase that ended in Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive devices from the car and exchanged gunfire with police.
Last night while I was writing this, a flurry of applause at the scene of a standoff between police and Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev signaled his capture.
After a nearly two-hour standoff in a Watertown neighborhood, Tsarnaev was taken from the scene by ambulance to Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge where he was in serious condition.
“We got him. Thank God we got him,” Mayor Tom Menino told the local media,
as hundreds of police officers and federal authorities drove away from the scene. Large crowds of residents lined the streets applauding, some waving American flags.
“Overwhelming. Relief,” Watertown resident Josh Smith said. “We can sleep tonight.”
These two don't look so dark to me. Unless I look with my eyes closed.