Samples Terrorism Terrorism, Propaganda and the Media

Terrorism, Propaganda and the Media

482 words 2 page(s)

Terrorism is a broad term that encompasses a variety of illegal activities. The publics’ conception of terrorism is fueled by the political violence the media chooses to cover. In consideration of this point, the following highlights some of the general patterns that accompany reporting on terrorism. These patterns are drawn from columns published in the New York Times, CNN and BBC.

One potential act of terrorism that has received a large amount of coverage in the media lately is the mysterious disappearance of the Mayalasia flight MH 370. Some people had speculated that the airplane had been hijacked by terrorists. Significant efforts have been made in attempting to dismiss this theory. CNN’s National Security analysis Peter Bergen argued that this hypothesis was unlikely because acts of terror are intended to send a political message, as was the case with respect to 9/11 (Bergen, 2014). BBC treated the theory with an equal amount of skepticism (Mayalasia flight MH370, 2014). The New York Times reported that the plane likely crashed in the southern Indian Ocean (Fuller & Buckley, 2014).

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Upon reviewing these major news networks, there are many patterns that accompany reporting on terrorism. First, major news networks spend a considerable amount of time focusing on terrorist attacks against the United States than in impoverished countries. This is most noted with respect to Mayalasia flight MH 370, which received a large amount of media attention even though the mysterious disappearance was not likely an act of terror. In addition, there is an invariable tendency for major news networks to compare current terrorist attacks with the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, mentions of Islam and al-Qaeda tend to inevitably arise when reporting on terrorism. The conflation of terrorism with Islam has generated what is largely dubbed ‘Islamophobia’ by the mainstream media.

Major news networks are fueled by major corporations with a particular political bent. This being the case, most news stations have a political bias. One bias that seems to be transparent among major news networks is to focus on terrorist acts that are peddled against the United States rather than attacks peddled by the United States. For example, until recently, drones that killed innocent civilians under the Obama administration had been underreported in the United States. In addition, many news networks were anxious to latch onto the idea that flight MH 370 was an act of terror. However, the news networks were objective in that they treated the terrorist hypothesis as just one possibility among many; none of which were given more weight than the others. Thus illustrates the many ways that the media chooses to cover political violence.

  • Bergen, P. (2014, March 18). Did terrorists take control of Flight 370? Retrieved from CNN:
  • Fuller, T., & Buckley, C. (2014, March 24). Jet Fell Into Ocean With All Lost, Premier Says. Retrieved from New York Times :
  • Malaysia flight MH370: Theories swirl around disappearance. (2014, March 14). Retrieved from BBC: