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Chapter Eighteen: The Media: Affecting Terrorism and Homeland Security Television and Terrorism: A Cozy Relationship Television and Terrorism: A Cozy Relationship Over the years, several studies have pointed to the close relationship between terrorism and television

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Television and Terrorism: A Cozy Relationship

  • Over the years, several studies have pointed to the close relationship between terrorism and television
  • The purpose of television news
    • News programming provides information, but it is also designed to keep audiences watching
    • One of the purposes is to keep the audience primed with emotion and excitement
    • Terrorism is perfect for this scenario because it is so dramatic

Television and Terrorism: A Cozy Relationship

  • Basic elements of television drama
    • Viewers are encouraged to “stay tuned”
    • The station provides an expert interpreter
    • The reports give the illusion that somehow the audience and be in control of the situation

Television and Terrorism: A Cozy Relationship

  • David Levin and news frames
    • The purpose of a news frame is to assemble words and pictures to create a pattern surrounding the event
    • Television and other media “spin” the event so that it can be translated into the understanding of popular culture

Television and Terrorism: A Cozy Relationship

  • H.H.A. Cooper
    • The reason that television is so quick to pounce on a terrorist event is that its audience want to watch it
  • Douglas Kelner
    • According to Kelner, after September 11, American television presented only one news frame: The attack was a clash of civilizations, and only a military response would stop future attacks

Television and Terrorism: A Cozy Relationship

  • Benjamin Barber and the Infotainment Telesector
    • The Infotainment Telesector is not geared for depth, it is designed to create revenue
    • The nature of the Infotainment Telesector and the desire of the networks to beat other networks have a negative effect on homeland security. Competing news outlets may leak documents, unveil confidential plans, and expose vulnerabilities.
    • Terrorists continually increase the dramatic violence to attract coverage

The Media as a Force Multiplier

  • American media and Arab media
    • America broadcasted its versions of truth both domestically and abroad, and American news has always been self-absorbed
    • In the 1990s a new Arab television network, al Jazeera, began broadcasting news from an Arab perspective
the media as a force multiplier10
The Media as a Force Multiplier
  • Terrorists use the media to reach audiences in a new way
    • At first, terrorists reached audiences with drama
    • As time went on, terrorists realized that hostage dramas were made for television
    • If terrorists could successfully manipulate the situation, they could portray both hostages and themselves as victims while police and military forces appeared to be aggressors
the media as a force multiplier11
The Media as a Force Multiplier
  • The media and the way the United States is views
    • The growth of media outlets and competing perspectives on the news has had a huge effect on the way the United States is viewed around the world, and this effect extends to perceptions of terrorism and America’s foreign policy
the media as a force multiplier12
The Media as a Force Multiplier
  • Al Manar
    • Organizations have learned they can manipulate the media to get their message across
    • Hezbollah projected a positive image on al Manar
    • Power came to Hezbollah in the form of visual images
the media as a force multiplier13
The Media as a Force Multiplier
  • Gadt Wolfsfield and media victories
    • Struggles for the way a battle is reported are as important as combat on the battlefield. Neither side wants to be portrayed as the aggressor
    • The media are the primary tools for demonizing the enemy, and the most powerful tool is the way television reports casualties. One side presents its own casualties in compassionate and horrific terms, while casualties on the other side are described as mere statistics
the media as a force multiplier14
The Media as a Force Multiplier
  • Peace efforts
    • The only time peace becomes dramatic is when heads of state sign major treaties
the media as a force multiplier15
The Media as a Force Multiplier
  • The Internet as a force multiplier
    • The Internet is one of the most important force multipliers easily available to terrorists
    • The Internet is a powerful tool for opposition forces in authoritarian regimes
    • Terrorists run their own websites, sometimes hack into exiting sites to broadcast propaganda videos, and also imbed pixels in legitimate websites to transmit secret communications
the media as a force multiplier16
The Media as a Force Multiplier
  • The Cinema as a force multiplier
    • Movies create popular images that can be used for the purposes of propaganda
security forces vs reporters18
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • Security forces conflicting with the media
    • Terrorists want to use the media as a psychological weapon, while governments seek to harness the power of the media for social control
    • Law enforcement and military goals conflict directly with the needs of the media
    • Officially, police and security forces recognize the media’s right to report information, but they develop elaborate plans to control reporting
security forces vs reporters19
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • Media control
    • Richard Schaffert believes that democracies can lower the amount of terrorism by implementing some form of media control, and he argues that such actions do not endanger democracy
    • The United States has two problems with this approach:
      • Many Americans see terrorism as a distant problem that does not require such measures as censorship
      • Most Americans abhor the idea of censorship
security forces vs reporters20
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • Competing and contradictory roles of the media
    • The media control the flow of information while simultaneously making the news interesting enough to “sell”
security forces vs reporters21
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • Bassiouni
    • Police must respond to terrorist situations by lessening their drama and psychological impact
    • Terrorism defies security force goals while catering to media goals. The issue of terrorism heightens the animosity between the police and the media
    • Reinforcing Bassiouni, research has shown government officials seldom enjoy having their decisions analyzed and criticized by journalists for the benefit of a mass audience, but this is one of the major functions of media presentations
security forces vs reporters22
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • Points of views about terrorism and the media
    • Some members and supporters of the press see the media as a quasi-constitutional force keeping the government in check
    • Some want to limit press coverage during terrorist events
    • The media may exploit terrorism, but they rarely convey messages favorable to terrorism
security forces vs reporters23
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • The view of journalists
    • Journalists seem to fear manipulation by terrorists as much as they do government control
    • However, reporters maintain that in a democracy, all the people have a right to influence decision making. They can only do this when they are given unrestricted information
security forces vs reporters24
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • A counter view
    • Terrorists have made the media their ally
    • Reporting gives the illusion that terrorists are extremely powerful, and over-reporting causes widespread anxiety
    • The recent history of media research suggests that terrorists and the media have a symbiotic relationship
security forces vs reporters25
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • Terrorist theater
    • The media is filled with action and it is entertaining
    • However, research suggests that the coverage of terrorism is not helpful to terrorist groups
    • Reporting terrorist events increases the public’s knowledge about terrorism, but builds little sympathy for terrorists
security forces vs reporters26
Security Forces vs. Reporters
  • The media serves the interests of the government
    • Television generally ignores the motivations for violence, focusing instead on the violence itself
    • The method of coverage network was found to have a negative effect on terrorism
    • Television engenders no sympathy for terrorists because coverage clearly portrays terrorism as an illegitimate form of violence
    • The media often interpret events in favor of governments
does reporting make terrorism contagious28
Does Reporting Make Terrorism Contagious?
  • Allan Mazur
    • Violent reports have a suggestive effect on violent behavior
    • News reports of suicides increase the number of suicides
    • The number of threats against nuclear power facilities matched the number of news stories
    • The media can affect public behavior through suggestion
does reporting make terrorism contagious29
Does Reporting Make Terrorism Contagious?
  • M. Cherif Bassiouni
    • The media have become the vehicle for maximizing the psychological impact of terrorism
    • Media-reported terrorism causes more terrorism
does reporting make terrorism contagious30
Does Reporting Make Terrorism Contagious?
  • Philip Schlesinger
    • The contagion theory is merely a hypothesis of terrorist researchers
    • Contagion theory is used to support the case for censorship and that analysts who subscribe to it are merely trying to force their opinions on those who can control the media
does reporting make terrorism contagious31
Does Reporting Make Terrorism Contagious?
  • The Internet and the contagion effect
    • Contagion is magnified when rumors are spread through e-mails, and websites
  • Copycat effect
    • The greatest proponents of contagion theory argue that media reporting, especially television, leads to a copycat effect
    • The reason is that media reports encourage people to transform dark thoughts into reality
censorship debates33
Censorship Debates
  • Three choices when it comes to freedom of the press and terrorism
    • To assume a laissez-faire, or hands-off, attitude
    • Censorship
    • Self-regulation
censorship debates34
Censorship Debates
  • Juanita Jones and Abraham Miller
    • Government restrictions on dissemination of news do not violate the press’s rights during emergency conditions
    • Reporting and the freedom to report are not the only critical concerns in crises: The impact of the media on the event and media interference with police operations have also become central issues
    • The press could legally be excluded from certain areas, especially when police procedures call for secrecy in an attempt to save lives
    • The police have a right to place restrictions on the police, and the actions of the police deny neither free speech or a free press
censorship debates35
Censorship Debates
  • Philip Schlesinger
    • The media in Western democracies favor government stability
    • The media have worked to delegitimize terrorist violence
    • The press has supported the government while condemning antigovernment violence
    • Language is crucial, because it can serve to either support or deny the legitimate right of a political position to exist. Officially, media language is used to criminalize terrorism. Unofficially, it can serve to criminalize the issue that motivates terrorists
censorship debates36
Censorship Debates
  • Shane Kingston
    • Terrorism caters to the media
  • Aspects to a media strategy
    • A press office has to spin events favorably so that actions can be presented to the world’s press in a positive light
    • Solicit support from media outlets that have already taken sides
censorship debates37
Censorship Debates
  • International media
    • Another reason censorship is losing its appeal is that the press has truly developed an international flavor
  • The World Wide Web
    • Technology has rendered debates about censorship moot, except when a single nation seeks to keep its own media outlets under tight control