Terrorism and the Mass Media After Al Qaeda: a Change of Course?

Better Essays
Peace & Conflict Review Volume 3, Issue 1 ISSN: 1659-3995

Terrorism and the Mass Media after Al Qaeda: A Change of Course?
Reviewed by Jessica Baran Abstract Manuel R. Torres Soriano. Terrorism and the Mass Media after Al Qaeda: A Change of Course? Athena Intelligence Journal Vol. 3, No 1, (2008), pp. 1-20.

Soriano begins his exploration of the relationship between media and terrorism with the words of Marshall McLuham, whose statement that “without communication, terrorism would not exist” is taken by Soriano to be “relatively precocious”, but essentially correct. Though terrorism existed prior to mass media, Soriano argues that it was always about making a public statement, and that new technologies have simply allowed the
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Soriano also points out that, because of the nature of television news media being short (90 second) stories, it is impossible to tell the whole story and give context to the events unravelling before the viewer’s eyes. The television media does not go into any real detail, thus simplifying the story for the viewer to the point that it has little to do with the actual events. This has great implications for society and social pressure on the government, though one would have to assume this is not beneficial to the terrorist organization. The terrorist organization would receive massive media coverage for a visual, easy to cover attack, however, this does not mean that the viewers would be aware of why the attack occurred or the ultimate goals of the terrorist organization. This is a complex situation in which the television media are both beneficial and detrimental to the cause of the terrorist. Categorizing the relationship between terrorists and the media Soriano examines the relationship between terrorists and the media, suggesting that there are several different levels of relationship. He sites Michael Wieviorka, a French sociologist, who splits these relationships into four different levels: Complete Indifference, where terrorists complete their act of terror with no regard to media coverage; Relative Indifference, in which terrorists complete their
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