Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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The criticism has come from all over the country. Talk show hosts and bloggers are up in arms over the fact that KSL Newsradio and our counterparts in print in television are not singling out the fact that the Trolley Square shooter was Muslim. I've taken several calls during the Utah's Morning News. My group e-mail inbox is filled with links to sites blasting the "liberal" or "left-wing" or "politically correct" media for not harping on the fact that Sulejmen Talovic was Muslim.
Why aren't we? Because we're responsible. Our reporters aren't stupid, our Managing Editor won't avoid the story because of political sensitivity. Facts are facts. And as of right now, there are no facts to support Talovic's motive as being religious. Simply saying he's a Muslim and that's enough is ruthlessly ignorant and a blatant violation of any decent code of ethics. What's the difference if I were to report a black suspect's motive as this: he's black and that's the way they are.
Not one fact has been released by police supporting a religious agenda. Not one single reporter in a market of two daily newspapers, four full-time television news operations and one of the largest dedicated radio news staffs in the country has uncovered one nugget that in any way can paint Talovic in to a religious fanatic. The evidence seized by police did not include Al-Qaeda training videos. There was no Qur'an with hand-scrawled notes and highlighted passages found in his car. He was rarely seen at Mosque. Nobody at his former employer recalled him taking the soapbox on political issues. Not one witness we've talked to heard Islamic propaganda during the shooting. He left no note identifying himself as a solider of Islam. Nothing. Zip. Nada. What was that you heard in the mall video? That's it? That's the golden proof? And not one of the cops, witnesses or victims can verify that.
Rest assured, if any tidbit like this comes to light, then it will be reported. It would be a huge story and there is no way it could be contained nor would anyone at this station or any other would hide it. Nobody shied away from reporting the true motives of the 9/11 hijackers, the shoe bomber, the dirty bomber, etc. Nobody will shy away from Talovic's motive, should it ever come to light. Unfortunately, as of now, we know nothing. True, he is a Muslim. But right now, that's simply a coincidence.