Media’s Impact on Terrorism Today Essay

The media or “press” has been around since the inception of the United States Constitution’s First Amendment ; this “freedom of speech” has been debated in many court cases, states Brian J. Buchanan (2009) for example, “whether the ‘institutional press’ may assert or be entitled to greater freedom from governmental regulations or restrictions than are non–press individuals, groups, or associations. ” Justice Stewart has argued: “That the First Amendment speaks separately of freedom of speech and freedom of the press is no constitutional accident, but an acknowledgment of the critical role played by the press in American society. With that being said, this writing will reveal how the media can be used as a weapon; whether the media coverage of terrorism and terrorist events have had an impact on future acts of terror, and what the effect of including or excluding certain details from a story has on the authenticity of the story. The media, newspapers, world-wide-web, television and radio play a vital part informing their viewers of events that are occurring around the world as well as in their own backyard.

The dilemma is journalist provide too much information or not enough information therefore this “loaded gun lying in the street, the first person to pick it up got to choose how to use it. ” (Richard Clutterbuck, p. 76) can be used in a very scheming, methodical manner – to the benefits of the reporter. A viewer of media representation is very biased; they (viewers) see or hear only what is being reported, which may not always represent the truth. Journalists play on the viewers emotions so that their story is most watched or listened to.

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Just as good advertisers find that catchy tune to attract you to their product, the media does the same thing with dramatic, sensationalized, and attention getting titles of today’s headline. Terrorist are here! The internet, although a very well oiled machine, is a powerful tool that impacts anyone who logs on. From their catchy titles, to their very graphic and detailed representation, viewers can be drawn in to read what is going on in the Terrorist world. Not to mention, the internet is full of resource pages to learn how to become a terrorist.

Recruitment of terrorist is a click away. Terrorist training is available to you! Do you need a “how to book” on how to use weapons? You can learn how to make a bomb. You can be honored by becoming a suicide bomber, we’ll teach you! Again, the authenticity, reliability, and validity of what is being streamed into the pages of the internet are just as subjective as the newspapers, television, and radio. Therefore, yes the media coverage of terrorism and terrorist event impact the future of acts of terror.

The media, as presented in the forms of: television, newspapers, internet, and radio do not always portray truthful events. They, the media, do not always dig deep enough for the facts because they know the viewers still trust them. The problem is when a story is released that has missing facts, missing details, or just not putting correct information in, the military’s reports are revealed to be untrustworthy. Many Americans have little trust in the military/government as it is and the media does not help the reputation of the military/government when there are conflicting stories.

In today’s society there is fear for our security and most people believe the reports provided by their news anchors that come into their homes every night. In closing let me say that we do need media coverage of events however, some censorship of terrorism or terrorist attacks needs to take place. This “loaded gun, lying in the street, the first person to pick it up got to choose how to use it “ (Richard Clutterbuck, p. 76), reveals the importance of the story/event being treated with respect and dignity, in that, research all the facts, provide a reliable and valid representation of the event.

The media needs to work closely with military/government agencies so that valid, reliable, and accurate information is being provided to the viewer. There needs to be a watchdog over how much information is being put on the internet that anyone, anywhere, can access information regarding terrorism, recruitment, training, weapons knowledge, and suicide bombers. References Brian J. Buchanan (2009), Freedom of Expression: Is there a Difference Between Speech and Press, About the First Amendment Richard Clutterbuck, (2009) Terrorism and Homeland Security, Jonathan R. White Chapter 4, pages 76


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