What a blurry photo of the bomber tells us

Muck Rack Daily

What a blurry photo of the bomber tells us
March 23rd, 2016
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Putting the picture together


"My piece on what [a] blurry photo of suspected bomber tells us about ISIS tradecraft. Hint: No beard/gloves/suitcase," tweets NYT's Rukmini Callimachi, before going on to darkly joke, "Speculation that single glove may be to hide detonation device. Or as @DougSchorzman opines, bombers might just be Michael Jackson fans." It's hard not to notice that when tragedy strikes, it often stirs a sort of morbid humor in the journalists who must cover all of its worst facets -- a sort of self-defense for sanity's sake, let's call it -- and in this case, the single-glove detail about the Belgium bombers inspired the exact same joke in multiple members of the media: "Next time you see a chap with one glove on, don't assume he's showing affection for Michael Jackson," similarly quips Carl Skadian. So apparently sometimes a grainy photo reveals things about ourselves, too.


But going back to the bomber trio. Some public officials have pointed to mosque attendance or conservative Islamic appearances like hijabs or long beards as hints of radicalization, but as with the Paris attackers, none of this seems to be true of the three main suspects photographed in Belgium. Two of them -- brothers Brahim and Khalid Bakraoui -- reportedly died in the process of carrying out the plan, but a third man in lighter clothes allegedly is still at large: so here's how authorities plan to catch the man in white. "Manhunt underway ... #Brussels attack investigation: What's next for authorities?" CNN's Arwa Damon bills it. In the meantime, the court date for the recently captured Paris suspect Abdeslam has been postponed for at least a day, due to heightened security concerns. In a fairly big letdown, there was briefly a moment where it looked as if the ISIS bomb-maker linked to the attacks could have been apprehended, but while a major Belgian outret reported Belgian national Najim Laachraoui had been taken into custody, it now appears that wasn't true -- and there may even be a fourth unidentified attacker. So while another massive search is conducted, we look for all the familiar signs of solidarity: the Eiffel tower lit up in the colors of the Belgian national flag, the White House's flag flying at half-mast, or Facebook users adding a filter to their profile photos. What once was heart-warming starts to feel increasingly, heart-breakingly routine, as do the usual reminders of all the other recent violent tragedies with frequently higher casualties that somehow flew under our radar.

Elsewhere, it's business as usual for politics. Former GOP candidate Jeb Bush embraces Sen. Ted Cruz in a Facebook post endorsement. House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered a thoughtful address on the state of American politics. An Israeli firm now appears to be helping the FBI with the work that Apple doesn't want: opening that encrypted iPhone. And top experts puzzle over the names of Trump's newly unveiled foreign policy advisers. "Dude, half of them are whereabouts unknown. No joke," points out Noah Rothman at Commentary Magazine.

Personal thoughts from the press


Today members of the media are mourning Malik Taylor, a.k.a. "Phife Dawg," the member of the legendary hip-hop act A Tribe Called Quest who just died at age 45. "Man listen. This is not how I wanna start my day," reacts writer/editor Janelle Harris. Plus, Gawker's Nick Denton is finally back from New York and able to talk about The Hogan Verdict. "Still cant believe that Hulk Hogan won his case against @Gawker and the Jury awarded him $140mil. Like?" responds Sunday Tribune's Buhle Mbonambi. Meanwhile, the Dutch platform Blendie, which lets users pay by the article, is launched and testing its pay-per-article model in English with 20 publishers. "Many have asked about WSJ paywall. Can now buy stories for 39 cents each. If I'm not worth it, please don't tell me," beseeches Tom Perrotta there. Also, here is every NYT millennial trend story so far in 2016 (because we know you wanted that). At VocativErin Gloria Ryan calls it "The best thing @ThisIsFusion has ever done. It, like every #millennial, should get a trophy for this." At the Detroit Free Press, Katrease Stafford offers this endorsement: "This article makes me want to go grab a venti iced vanilla latte from Starbucks."

Question of the day


Our last question asked: After going missing 11 years ago, who was supposedly spotted alive and well in Mexico? Olivia Newton-John’s former boyfriend Patrick McDermott has allegedly been found hiding in a small fishing village in Mexico, according to detectives.

Congratulations to Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times for being the very first to answer that correctly! Honorable mentions go out to Tom BurtonEugene Hunt (who jokes "She's still the one he wants (I guess)"), Sara JacobsonRon Casalotti (who quips "'Suddenly' like 'Magic.' Will she buy his excuse? 'Please, Mr, Please'"), Carrie GrayMargo Howard (who observes McDermott "apparently didn't know how to just say 'Good-bye.'"), Mark Gibbs (who suggests "Maybe he was tired of O-NJ getting physical?") and Cindi Lash for all getting that right, as well.

As for today's question, here it is: Former boy band Hanson claims that people too often get what wrong about one of their biggest hits?

Click here to submit your answers to @MuckRack. IMPORTANT: If you choose not to click that link, please include the word "answer" in your tweet so we can find it (the link will automatically do so for you)! 

... We’ll announce the winners in the next Daily!

Featured journalist: Noga Tarnopolsky


Today's featured journalist is Noga Tarnopolsky, correspondent for The Media Line. Tarnopolsky boasts two decades of experience covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. in the Middle East, and human rights in South America. Among many destinations, she has reported from Argentina, Mexico, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Poland, Turkey and France. Tarnopolsky's work has been published in the New York Times, The New Yorker, the Washington Post, Ha'aretz, El País and DailyBeast, to name just a few, and she has appeared as an analyst on CNN, Univisión and Televisa. To see her craftmanship for yourself, stop by her Muck Rack portfolio here. We suggest you start with her VICE offering "The Explosive End of Israel's 'Quietest Border'" or her New Yorker piece "The Family That Disappeared."

Remember: If you also want to be featured, you should 1) set up your own journalist portfolio 2) get verified and 3) let us know by emailing Kirsten.

Career Updates
Journo job moves for Wednesday


Your career moves "to know" for the day:

  • Banner changes: Cari Romm (at right) will soon join New York Magazine. Romm is finishing up at The Atlantic as assistant science editor.
  • Movin' up: Also at New York MagazineDavid Wallace-Wells is named features director. Wallace-Wells previously served as literary editor there.
  • Julee A. Wilson is now Essence's digital fashion and beauty director. Wilson joined from the Huffington Post, where she was senior fashion editor.
Don’t forget - if you change your job in journalism or move to a different news organization, be sure to email Kirsten (kirsten [at] sawhorsemedia [dot] com) so we can reflect your new title. News job changes only, please! Thanks!
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