Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Is Fox News and CNN Helping Terrorism?

Posted by AmishThrasher at 12:21 pm
Fox News
Fox News Channel:
Who is their coverage really helping?
A few days ago, I posted a story about how - in the wake of the London train bombing - presenters at America's Fox News Channel boasted about how the terrorist attacks would work to the advantage of right wingers, and how they could make money because the stock-market was lower after a terrorist attack. Since then I've come across this interesting article about how the 24 hour news channels obsessive coverage may be helping terrorists. While the Rutherford Institute (where this story was originally posted) is far from a bastion of neutrality - their front page (http://www.rutherford.org/) prominantly features a link stating "Bible Reading Under Attack! Sign Our Petition" - this article raises a lot of interesting points.

Here's an excerpt:
Strange Bedfellows: Terrorism and the Media
by John W. Whitehead
Just imagine that you’re a terrorist with limited funds and you want to create havoc. You only have a few bombs, but you want your message broadcast to the world. How do you get the best bang for your buck? The answer is simple: turn the media into broadcasters for your acts of terrorism.

As the recent terrorist attacks on London’s transport system show, the way for terrorists to broadcast their message to the world is to get the attention of the world media. Today’s terrorists know that they have the broadcast media at their disposal—CNN, FOX, MSNBC and the rest are all at their beck and call—because the networks have 24 hours of airtime to fill, and what’s more salacious than the murder and mayhem of terrorism?
Ask yourselves: why do terrorists fly planes into buildings and blow up subway systems? Do they do it to be mean? Or because they like to destroy things? Perhaps in part. But the real motivation behind these acts of urban terrorism is the attention the terrorists receive from the world media. Laqueur quotes one terrorist leader as saying, “If we put even a small bomb in a house in town, we could be certain of making the headlines in the press. But if the rural guerrilleros liquidated thirty soldiers in some village, there was just a small news item on the last page.”
FULL ARTICLE AT: http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_id=347

Certainly, the idea that guaranteed 24 hour news coverage may help motivate attacks, like the one we have seen in London, is not an idea that will get much coverage in most of the mainstream media (I suspect somehow); but it is worth looking at.