We investigated whether a failure of distractor inhibition contributes to the magnitude of the attentional blink (AB). Subjects viewed dual-target rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) streams, where the distractors that directly preceded and succeeded Target 2 (T2-1, T2+1) were either identical to each other or different. Previously, Dux, Coltheart, and Harris (2006) found enhanced target report in RSVP due to repetition of distractors around Target 1, which was interpreted as evidence of distractor inhibition. Here, distractor repetition again attenuated the AB, but only at lag 2, the Target 2 position where T2-1 would have undergone attentive processing. Our results demonstrate that the distractor repetition effect is dependent on attention, and that a failure to inhibit distractors contributes to the AB. Copyright 2007 Psychonomic Society, Inc.