Frankly, I don't see the media "spiking" this aspect of the story.
It's more a matter of differing perspectives between the media and the public.
Anyone with strong familiarity of Al Qaeda and Chechnya understands that the "Chechen resistance" wouldn't even exist without Al Qaeda. The Chechen resistence is Al Qaeda and vice versa.
There aren't enough "separatists" in Chechnya to fill Texas Stadium, (even today) and there wouldn't be any at all if Al Qaeda hadn't been setting up the "resistance" for over a decade.
Anyone with strong familiarity on the topic who saw two commercial aircraft explode within four minutes of each other didn't even bother to ask if Al Qaeda was involved, it was simply that obvious.
SOP for Al Qaeda is simultaneous attacks, and an inferred claim of responsibility through some invented terrorist group that no-one's ever heard of before, but that uses names obliquely related to Al Qaeda and past Al Qaeda attacks. For example, "Abu Hafs Martyr's Brigade", refers to Mohammed Atef (alias Abu Hafs), Al Qaeda's top military planner, who succeeded Banshiri and completed the planning and execution of the African Embassy bombings when Banshiri was killed in a ferry accident, and who was killed in a US bombing raid during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The rising "furor" over Al Qaeda involvement in the entire series of recent attacks in Russia is of the same significance as the flap over whether ETA or Al Qaeda blew up the Spanish trains just before the election.
I'm not one to defend the media, but in this one case, they aren't exactly covering up this angle, they more seem to be just not over-emphasizing what appears to be obvious to them.
Once you accept that Al Qaeda wasn't only involved in, but was the prime planner, financier, and motivator for the entire string of recent Russian attacks, the door opens to ask much more interesting questions, such as:
1. Why did AQ target specifically Russia?
2. Why now?
3. Was the coincidence in timing between the string of attacks and the Republican National Convention simply a matter of random chance?
4. Is the string of attacks over for now?
5. If there was a correlation between the timing of the attacks and the Convention, why didn't Al Qaeda simply attack in America instead of Russia?
6. Overall, what was Al Qaeda's purpose and objective behind this string of attacks?
7. Have those objectives been met to Al Qaeda's satisfaction?
8. Is this string of attacks actually over now, or is Russia to expect still more?
Simultaneous attacks, at least in the past decade and to date, have always been Al Qaeda's handiwork. Dispensing with the entire "Was it Al Qaeda or (fill in the blank)" process allows us all to get to the meat of the implications that much faster, which then ties into the whole idea of getting inside their decision making loop.
Besides....if future events prove us wrong in attributing a future attack to Al Qaeda, what's Osama going to do about it, sue us? Declare war?
2. Why now? Anytime is a good time when you least expect it.
3. Was the coincidence in timing between the string of attacks and the Republican National Convention simply a matter of random chance? The RNC was a diversion to this campaign of mass murder.
4. Is the string of attacks over for now? No.
5. If there was a correlation between the timing of the attacks and the Convention, why didn't Al Qaeda simply attack in America instead of Russia? We were ready, thanks to the Republicans. Russia is easier as a target.
6. Overall, what was Al Qaeda's purpose and objective behind this string of attacks? Terrorize the population and withdrawal from Chechnya. Spread Islam the only way it has ever been spread for 1600 years.
7. Have those objectives been met to Al Qaeda's satisfaction? A complete success.
8. Is this string of attacks actually over now, or is Russia to expect still more? More, much more.