Terrorists gets the attention of the media, whether it’s in a positive or negative manner. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the United States, the Middle East or Europe, terrorism continues to be a means of exploitation by the media. Although terrorist interests may lie primarily with the audience, the audience reactions and responses are just as important and significant as the act itself.
I’m not saying the media is the reason that terrorists are able to get their information across the globe, however, the media plays a vital role with terrorism because it gets information to other groups indirectly by doing what they were hired to do, and that is to bring news to the people. So whether we like it or not, the media (because the media deals with ratings, the more drastic, the better the ratings) will continue to be an indirect voice for terrorists.
When the media broadcasts an attack, it gives terrorists the opportunity, for free publicity, information can be broadcasted to other entities that’s in a terrorist group throughout the world, and it also give the opportunity to recruit, fundraise, as well as publicize their own agenda. All of that is done free of charge, thanks to the media. As these groups continue to commit these heinous acts, which disrupts family lives and cause fear within the community, media continue to get their camera’s, their camera man, and reporters, and there it goes, “take one” of many, as reporters run and ready to report the news.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how accurate the information is, just as long as it’s reported. They are a resource for the community to receive needed information, and supply information for needed services that’s given after an attack. There are only two ways news can be reported, and that is negative or positive. It may sound a little sleighed, however, the media tend to focus on more negative than positive. So let’s ask the questions, how many viewers will watch an individual cooking a particular dish, opposed to a ‘terrorist’ bombing twin towers?
The World Trade Center was destroyed September 11, 2001 (also known as 9/11), by Al-Qaeda affiliated hijackers. It covered 16 acres, and killed 2,763 people. There were numerous videos publicized, stating who was responsible for the attack. Using the media to its advantages, Osama Bin Laden was able to broadcast his list of grievances in interviews with journalists. The media also gave him the platform to give rationale to why he declared war against the United States. Al Jazeera was able to get a message to a news reporter that was supposedly signed by Osama
Bin Laden. Again, the media was a pawn that was able to be used by terrorists to get their point across. In some cases, when it came to the media broadcasting information, fiction was better than facts. There were eight countries that publicly owned broadcasting stations. Those stations were allowed to air evidence that challenged the reported truth. So even after 9/11, after the major reports, and after the conclusions, terrorists were still able to get the media involved to interpret what the true facts were.
With the attack of 9/11, terrorists chose a location that would produce a media frenzy. They were able to achieve that goal and receive media coverage nationwide. They used the media to broadcast their bureaucratic agenda, by trying to justify their actions, and to generate an ambience of theory, intuitions and fear. The media provided free publicity by the groups to generate an undercurrent for panic and belief. With the click of a remote control, or the push of a button on a radio or a television, media was able to publicize all over the world why they were adversaries of the United States.
They wanted to catch the attention of policy makers and government officials – and they accomplished that task. Without 9/11 coverage, terrorists would have presumably wasted their time, and all of the planning and efforts would have been in vain. There has been so much negativity regarding the media, so it was rather difficult in finding online reports regarding the media in a positive light. Continuing my research, I was able to find the terrorist bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Oxford Journals reported that the media’s attention concerning disaster, management, information, and education was placed in a positive manner. A radio station, newspapers, and television stations, was put in place to help with counseling, as well as, creating awareness and its psychological importance. They were able to promote activities which benefited victims in the aftermath of terrorist attack. In this instance, the media was able to be involved with influencing the public.
The media was able to (indirectly) communicate, in taking in account, the psychological aftereffects. When Myspace started August 1, 2003, followed by Facebook being launched on February 4, 2004, YouTube starting (Valentine’s Day), February 14, 2005, and Twitter, going live March 21, 2006, I don’t think people would have believed that it would lead to such a negative impact. Initially, when social media first came into play, it was for individuals to be able to communicate, create videos, and post pictures, in a positive way.
It has become evident that a negative cloud has come over social media. Terrorists has been able to recruit, they can vocalize their frustrations (whether there is a legitimate cause or not), the purpose of their propaganda, and they are also able to fundraise and train. Now people are able to build bombs by watching videos using social media. This day and age is all about technology, and this “now” younger generation lives by it. Because of the hype of social media, terrorist groups are now taking a more proactive role in reaching our young people.
Mainstream” is a great word to use when describing social media. First of all, it’s free, and reliability and user-friendly can be added to describing social media. Terrorists can now come in people’s backyards without leaving their ‘backyard’. Terrorists are able to open chat rooms and launch forums to discuss their first attack or their next attack. In 2012, there were changes were made to the censorship policy with Twitter. Tweets are censored in certain countries, so there won’t risks taken by breaking local laws of that country.
The demand for specific videos from YouTube has grown since 2010. YouTube has pulled terrorist group content from its server. However, they added an option under their “violent and repulsive content” titled “promote terrorism”. Although terrorist groups can still post, anyone viewing the video can have it ‘flagged’ as offensive content. It seems that some social media networks are responding to concerns regarding the negative impact that it brings, but, what is implemented is not enough. I think there should be a more direct approach.
Although it may be tedious, I believe that something should be in place before videos can even be seen by even one person. Social media has come a long way, however, it has a long way to go. Parental control and flagging is not going to solve the problem. I know we have freedom of speech, but, I think more digging and deeper due diligence will be needed to even place a dent in thwarting and enabling terrorists from coming into our backyard and plant negative seeds that will eventually destroy our country.