Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev: Why Conservative Media is Still Aiming For a Saudi National

The uncle of Boston Bbombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Ruslan Tsarni, proclaimed that the motives behind his nephews' heinous acts "has nothing to do with Islam, not the way my brother raised them. It has to do with them being losers!" This has not dettered conservative media from conjuring up a conspiracy theory linking the bombings to the Saudi '"suspect'" that first surfaced through false reports early on in the week.

Even last night as the shootouts were happening on MIT campus between the two brothers and police, reports started to emerge about “"dark-skinned”" and “"Middle Eastern”" suspects, but once the suspects' identities were revealed nobody has described them as Caucasian, which is technically the correct term for the Russian Caucus region of Dagestan they hail from.

The strong and emphatic statement by Uncle Ruslan summarizes a week of speculation from all media channels, social and broadcast, about how much the ethnic and religious background of the two young men have affected their motives. In the days leading up to identifying the two suspects, CNN and Fox both had contributors on air discuss 'dark-skinned' suspects, and in the initial hours even claimed a Saudi national as the prime suspect of the bombings.

Conservative website Breitbart.com and Fox News stayed with the Saudi suspect angle until the photos of the two were released, including an article by Pamela Geller, President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative as recently as Thursday demanding the government explain why the Saudi '"suspect'" is not being pursued.


Glenn Beck has gone one step further on this issue, despite Homeland Security Advisor Janet Napolitano categorically stating the Saudi National story is only a rumor,. claimingHe claimed today that we should "demand impeachment" for the "cover-up" of Saudi involvement in the bombings.


The Tsarnaevs' Uncle Ruslan clearly stated that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan had no relations to the Islamist freedom movement in Chechnya suppressed by Putin's administration, and even the Saudi King has released a statement describing the attacks as heinous. Even if the two boys were not influenced by radicalist Islamic teachings as is hinted at in their social media channels, we can count on conservative media to continue pushing the Islamist angle.

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Shwetika Baijal

Shwetika is PolicyMic's first columnist and writes for the Millenials and the Media column. She focuses on how the media frames policy and cultural issues, how the media's framing effects public opinion, and in turn how public opinion affects the policies and issues under discussion.

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