terrorism and the media n.
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Terrorism and the media. First, what is terrorism?. Terrorism can be seen as politically-motivated violence or threat of violence with the intent of spreading fear The goal is more to generate widespread fear than to inflict physical damage

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first what is terrorism
First, what is terrorism?
  • Terrorism can be seen as politically-motivated violence or threat of violence with the intent of spreading fear
    • The goal is more to generate widespread fear than to inflict physical damage
      • Even in the case of the 9-11 attacks, where the physical damage was significant, the real goal was to spread fear in the wider United States
  • The very definition of “terrorism” and, therefore, “terrorist” is very controversial
  • It has a very negative connotation that will often reduce people’s willingness to see an individual, group or country in a new light
  • The United States has defined terrorism as non-state violence
    • This officially make the United States and its allies exempt from the definition
  • However, when a country supports a militant group, it may be accused of state-sponsored terror
what are the hallmarks of terrorist propaganda
What are the hallmarks of terrorist propaganda?
  • Propaganda of the deed—that is, the action itself is much of the communication
    • The World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks were not random, obviously
      • The Pentagon attack was fairly clear in its direction at the U.S. military
    • “Random” attacks carry their own message
  • Claims of responsibility after the fact
  • Maximum bloodshed and mayhem
    • Meant to be known as attacks—secret killings are of little value
    • Brutality meant to be especially difficult for object of attack to accept
what messages do terrorist attacks carry
What messages do terrorist attacks carry?
  • We are here
    • Simply letting it be known that the terrorist group exists
    • Claiming importance or legitimacy within the wider terrorist network
  • You are in danger
    • The awareness of the simple existence of danger is meant to be unsettling
    • The danger will continue
      • Attacks will continue
You cannot protect yourselves
    • The terrorists are powerful enough to carry out the attacks
    • The terrorists act in ways that are very difficult to prevent or control
      • You cannot tell where they will strike
    • The terrorists are willing to accept personal danger or death in order to carry out their attacks
      • They are deeply (religiously) committed
      • They are relentless
    • They are secretive
    • They are effective
  • Our cause is just
    • You have brought this on yourselves
how do domestic governments counter the terrorists messages
How do domestic governments counter the terrorists’ messages?
  • The terrorists are irrational
    • Religious fervor represents mindless fanaticism
    • They do not negotiate rationally
    • They do not accept reasonable rules
      • They kill innocent women and children
  • We can and will defeat them
    • We are more powerful than they are
    • They are cowardly and when confronted they will run
Their crimes call out for punishment
  • They cannot be appeased—they will simply become more dangerous
    • Their beliefs are contrary to ours
    • Their goal is to utterly destroy us
  • We have done nothing to deserve this—we are the innocent and aggrieved party
But . . .
  • We will have to sacrifice
    • For as long as it takes
  • We will need to spend great amounts of money to combat the terrorists
    • Sadly, this money will have to come from somewhere
      • We can trim it from all the fat in the domestic programs
  • It will be necessary to give up some of our civil liberties in order to confront this threat
    • Including privacy, freedom of speech and freedom of the press
      • These are hampering our ability to find and combat terrorists
  • These sacrifices will make us safer
the outcome of terrorism
The outcome of terrorism
  • Terrorism tends to radicalize and militarize relations between nations
    • Gives a stronger hand to the more extreme voices in governments
    • Problematizes interactions between states
      • Middle East
  • Encourages authoritarian actions within states
    • Is occasionally successful in influencing or overthrowing domestic authority
    • Can backfire
  • Is rarely successful in overthrowing foreign regimes
    • Sometimes can influence public policy, but may backfire
    • Hope that they get tired of fighting
      • Vietnam
  • Costs many lives and vast amounts of money
why engage in a relatively unsuccessful form of propaganda
Why engage in a relatively unsuccessful form of propaganda?
  • Terrorism is armed opposition among those who don’t have the military strength to overthrow a government or expel a foreign influence and cannot effectively access less violent means of political action
    • Government propaganda/media control blocks them out
  • Third countries may gain sympathy for the plight of the aggrieved group
    • Palestinians
    • Shining Path
    • Tamil Tigers