This week, the topic is terrorism. We have dived right in analyzing many specific examples, perspectives, and questions surrounding this difficult and disturbing topic. I decided for today’s post I wanted to focus on fewer facts and explanations and more on my learning outcome—the ideas and questions I’m left with.
A significant concept that has stuck out to me during the week’s discussions is how reliant terrorists are on media coverage.
Terrorists need the media to receive free publicity for their cause, spread their messages, and to gain support and recognition. For terrorism to gain the public attention the terrorists are seeking, media needs to play a part—and terrorists know that. The more shocking and disturbing an event is, the more the news and media will cover it. Reporting on terrorism equals money in news channels pockets as nothing is truly more attention-grabbing than death. Nothing is more mind-consuming than a catastrophe.
This notion of “nothing is truly more attention-grabbing than death” has consumed my mind lately. That means lots of time in the Luca brain to reminisce on the concept.
What I’ve come up with is that I believe this concept is continuing a cycle. I’ll try to explain. In simple terms, terrorists need their acts to have media coverage. News outlets have the precedent of always doing that exactly. It makes sense; their job is to inform the public’s on the topic, and it makes them money. What we see here is a mutually beneficial relationship between terrorism and today’s media. That relationship, in my opinion, is very dangerous. It supports the cycle of terrorist acts being committed. Terrorists know the news will cover their actions, and that is why we are seeing so many unmerciful terrorist acts. It is due to that awareness of free publicity.
While reading around other’s thoughts on this relationship of terrorism and media, I found a quote that correctly put what I was trying to say into words. The quote is from this article linked here, told by a man named Hoffman.
“Without the media’s coverage, the act’s impact is arguably wasted, remaining narrowly confined to the immediate victim(s) of the attack, rather than reaching the wider’ target audience’ at whom the terrorists’ violence is actually aimed.”
This quote is essentially saying terrorists are more interested in the audience than the actual victims. Strategic preparation is done on where and when their terrorist act should happen as they want to make sure it has the most potential media coverage. When I say media coverage, I’m not talking about an essential five-minute section on the news informing the public of what, where, why and when. I’m talking about the aftermath of media coverage. Big clickbait titles, the repetition of stories, graphic images, and fighting on who is to blame–The media profits from the drama terrorism creates. The profit may seem harmless, but it is not. It pushes the intended impact of the terrorism down the public’s throat so they can never, ever, ever, forget it, therefore benefitting the terrorists.
This cycle of terrorism and the media feeding off of it is dangerous and only encourages more terrorism. I believe the media must become more aware of their impact as is a good news story really worth possible encouragement for future terrorism?My question ill leave you all with is… If there was a limit on the media’s coverage of terrorism, would we see less terrorism?