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Terrorism And The Media Essay

4701 words - 19 pages


September 11th changed the lives of many Americans, irrevocably. The horrendous attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon altered the way American’s viewed their positions within the world, not to mention their lives and their safety. The attacks brought terrorism to the forefront of national attention, in every aspect. The government became immediately immersed in an effort to understand and defeat terrorism, and simultaneously, the media, with its perverse fascination with violence and profit-driven espousal to round-the-clock, up-to-the-minute coverage, demonstrated an obsession with the attacks, by broadcasting almost nothing but the latest developments in the search and rescue efforts and investigations surrounding the them. Meanwhile, the public, having been inculcated via the media with a sense of danger and immediate threat to their lives and well-being, continued to watch and wait, intently. Still in shock from the realization that the U.S. was vulnerable to such infiltration and aggression, American society began to transform itself into a culture of fear and docility. Lingering on the words of each “expert” or government official to make a public statement, American society became accepting of any suggestions, orders or directives that were promoted by such individuals. The resulting propagation of conservative ideals and agendas within the aforementioned culture of fear has lead to the almost totally unchallenged consummation of the Bush Administration’s agenda, thus far.

We begin by explicating on this culture of fear. One intrinsic quality of a culture of fear is intolerance. For its part, the media has contributed to this atmosphere of intolerance by over-reporting the September 11th attacks and presenting depictions of Arab/Muslim-Americans as “evildoers” and terrorists; consistently associating the terms “Muslim” or “Islamic” and the

words “terrorist,” “fundamentalist,” “extremist,” etc, at a rate disproportionately high, in comparison to its association of other religious groups, with acts of barbarism (Soharwardy). Yes, the events of September 11th, 2001 were carried out by followers of Islam, and yes the events were horrific, but that is no reason to aid in the perpetuation of such stereotypes, especially when equally terrifying things have been committed by Christians and Jews (Chomsky 26-28).

Syed Soharwardy asserts that “Media always tried to portray Islam as a religion of terror and all the Muslims as terrorists. The way the talk-show programs and news are produced and presented, it seems that the media has already decided the guilty verdict, regardless what would be the outcome of an investigation” (Soharwardy). So too do members of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee recognize the media’s predisposition toward bias, as is pointed out in this statement, found on their website: “Key industries of American mass culture, Holllywood and...

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