I've periodically watched media coverage over the past 24 hours, to see how the mainstream media would report the Scottish government's decision to release the Libyan behind the Lockerbie plane bombing.
The man is terminally ill, and the Scottish government maintains that the release was based on humanitarian grounds. That decision has been met with outrage in Washington, London and most vocally by the families of those who died.
Under the surface there are reports continuing to bubble up that indicate the man's release was based purely on economics -- the United Kingdom is seeking to improve its relations with Libya, now that Tripoli has renounced terrorism. That claim has been denied by London.
What I've been looking to see is how the media would cover Scotland and Libya. There have been pointed questions about the Scottish decision, but my sense is that the images of the hero's welcome the bomber received are the real focus of the story.
It's not hard to see why. On one hand, the visuals from Libya trump the images from Scotland. People celebrating and raucous crowds play well on television; serious looking government spokespeople do not. But Scotland remains one of "us;" it's a democracy with deep roots in the West. Libya remains -- at best -- a murky place; at worst, it still is the home of a paranoid political leader and government system.
Over the next 24 to 48 hours, I expect there to be more "official" statements criticizing Libya and calling for its government to not treat the bomber as some kind of hero. Calls for him to receive something akin to house arrest also might enter media discourse. Along the same lines, I anticipate muting of the criticism of the Scottish government.
The "official" line will be important to hear, and to see if it is adopted by the media as the "storyline."