Terrorism and the Media: From the Iran Hostage Crisis to the World Trade Center Bombing

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Columbia University Press, 1996 - Performing Arts - 214 pages
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The televised images from the September 11 attacks exemplified how terrorists exploit the news media to get attention, spread fear and anxiety, and expose the weaknesses of the American superpower. September 11 was the culmination of decades of anti-American terrorism that, until the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, had not been felt on American soil. This book examines the response of the U.S. media, public, and decision makers to major acts of anti-American terrorism during the period from 1979-1994. Focusing on events abroad, such as the Iranian hostage crisis and the downing of Pan Am Flight 103, Nacos describes how terrorists successfully manipulate the linkages between the news media, public opinion, and presidential decision making through the staging of violent spectaculars.

A preface examines the dilemmas faced by the government and media in response to domestic terrorism perpetrated by Americans against Americans in 1995. Nacos argues that government acquiescence to mass-media pressure in the wake of the Oklahoma City Bombing, as well as the media's agonizing decision to publish the Unabomber's 35,000-word manifesto, represented a victory for terrorism that could only encourage more terrorism.

 

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Terrorism and the media: from the Iran hostage crisis to the World Trade Center bombing

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Nacos (political science, Columbia Univ.) is the author of The Press, Presidents, and Crisis (Columbia Univ. Pr., 1990). In this volume, she argues that terrorist organizations are sensitive to the ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction The Calculus of Violence
1
Terrorism the Media and Foreign Policy
16
Terrorists and Their Goals
48
The Polls and the Theater of Terror
75
Terrorists Spectaculars and Presidential Rallies
94
Decision Makers and Their Hard Choices
122
Conclusion Must Terrorists Succeed?
149
Notes
163
Appendix
185
Index
208
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About the author (1996)

Edward D. berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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