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The Media Is A Powerful Actor In Terrorism

3372 words - 14 pages


The media is a powerful actor in terrorism. How important the media is during terrorist incidents is a matter of constant argument (Atwater, 1987; Jenkins, 2003). The understanding of the connections between terrorism and the media must found through broader analysis of; the power of the media ( Shaw and McCombs, 1972), especially in trouble situations ( Arno, 1984); the way journalists, editors, authorities, and terrorists relate to each other; empirically analyzing the media; and the link between terrorism and public opinion .Since the early 1970s, researchers have examined the role of the news media in connection with terrorism and have found out how the media interact with terrorist.

Many terrorist groups or organization are very aware and able to understand other people`s feeling in the timing of news stories and audience dynamics then structure their actions accordingly (Weimann and Winn, 1994). Several examples include ; the Westgate bombing in Kenya ,the 1974 kidnapping of Patricia Hearst by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the 1977 Baader-Meinhof gang suicide in Stammheim prison and the and kidnapping of the Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, by the Red Brigades,1983 Armenian Revolutionary Army attack against the Turkish ambassador in Lisbon, 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (Poland, 1988),1972 kidnapping of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics that were held in Munich whereby Black September members realized that the world’s major media organizations would be at the event and decided to use the incident for attention. Also, the 1979 Iranian activists’ taking over the American embassy in Teheran brought world’s attention on the power of Islamic fundamentalism through stretching the event over 444 days (Sick, 1985). The most significant is the 9/11 terrorist attacks that seen to have been timed so that the media would capture and show the second plane hitting the World Trade Center towers.
Terrorist organizations or groups are 'owning’ the media and taking over it. Some terrorist groups own broadcast outlets. This is why, in the wake of 9/11, there was increase in security at television stations in the American cities. The government and the communication organization companies executives recognized that terrorists can take these radio or television outlets.

Through resources and few threats to security permit, terrorist organizations have started their own media stations (Weinberg and Davis, 1989). Moreover, some established media outlets act as terrorist sympathizers by appearing overly accommodating to some terrorist groups .During the aftermath of 9/11 ,AlJazeera contain broadcast videotapes of Osama bin Laden giving a warning the West of impending terrorist attacks. Also after the Westgate bombing in Kenya , the Alshabaab of Somalia claimed responsibility and warned the Kenyan...

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