ESSAY 4012

Terrorism and Homeland Security, 9e

CHAPTER 4 Jonathan R. White

Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives, Part 1
Define the new media environment.
Describe the characteristics of the new media.
Explain how the Internet has impacted terrorism.
Describe the way narrative can be presented in a hybrid frame.
Summarize research trends with respect to terrorism and the media.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives, Part 2
Discuss the role of the media in constructing social reality.
Explain the tension between security forces and the media.
Describe how the media can be viewed as a weapon.
Explain how news frames are used to present a story.
Describe the special relationship between terrorism and television.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

The New Media Environment, Part 1
Defining the New Media
The mass media of newspapers, radio, and television could be defined as mass communication. The new methods of interaction also involve communication, but it allows selective connections among communities.
New media refers to any virtual network where communication takes place. It includes blogs, multiple Internet postings, and any social network.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

The New Media Environment, Part 2
Terrorists quick to understand power of the new media
Other factors influenced the growth and impact of the new media:
The price of network devices dropped.
Improved digital technology increased the quality and quantity of communications.
Devices became smaller and more powerful.
Increased bandwidth increased the ability of servers to process traffic.
Communications revolution created a host of virtual communities.
Twitter is particularly powerful. Legitimizes messages because it brings the perception of authenticity, and it is socially accepted.
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Characteristics of the New Media
The old media is controlled by small groups of elite stakeholders who distribute selective information to targeted audiences. It transmits one version of a story to many people, and while elites may interact with the sources of a narrative, the audience can only consume the information.
Consumers cannot collaborate or participate in developing a story.
None of the characteristics of the new media apply to the old.
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Other Aspects of the Internet
Steganography (embedding hidden information in a picture, message, or another piece of information) is one of the Internet’s greatest vulnerabilities.
Internet allows terrorist groups to present messages and images would not appear in mainstream media.
The Internet can also be used for recruitment and training.
The Internet is also used in target selection and reconnaissance.
Maps, satellite imagery, and diagrams provide ready-made intelligence sources.
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Trends in Research
Meanings are socially created, and Ross demonstrates that reporting is part of the social construction of terrorism.
Terrorists are aware of the power of the media and seek to manipulate their message through it.
While the media enhances the power of terrorism, it does not cause it.
Terrorists will increasingly use the Internet to communicate as the relationship between the media and terrorism grows stronger in the future.
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Empirical Findings on Twitter
The main purpose of terror media is to generate propaganda.
Frequency distributions of types of tweets revealed common categories from Syrian jihadists.
Klausen found that tweets centered around religious indoctrination, battle reports, interpersonal communication, everyday life, and delivering threats to the West.
Religion dominated written communication with four out of five tweets focusing on religious dogma.
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Gender Stereotypes
Television tends to portray women as minor figures in the male-dominated occupation.
Nacos presents several images created by television news frames:
Physical appearance frame
Family connection frame
Terrorist for the sake of love
Women’s lib frame
Women as bored, frustrated housewives
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News Frames, Part 1
Reporting patterns are packaged in segments called news frames.
Purpose is to assemble words and pictures to create a pattern surrounding an event.
Creates a narrative for a deadly drama
Characters are introduced, heroes and villains are defined, and victims become the suffering innocents.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

News Frames, Part 2
News frames help “mediatize” the presentation of terrorism.
Media shapes the way an event is communicated.
News frames are one of the least understood aspects of broadcast journalism because their complexity goes unnoticed.
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Types of Frames
Reporting frame
Dominant frame
Conflict frame
Contention frame
Investigative frame
Mythic frame
Campaigning frame
Reportage frame
Community service frame
Collective interest frame
Cultural recognition frames
Mythic tales frames
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Ambiguous Stories and News Frames
News frames give the story a structured meaning, but sometimes a story defies structure.
The news frame works when a report is based on sources with definitive explanations of an event.
Ambiguity destroys the ability to create a sustainable news frame.
Terrorism is reported in well-defined news frames, the media and consumer assumes a political beginning, a violent process, and a logical end.
If there is ambiguity, there is no logical conclusion.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Beating the Wrong Drum
Focus is improperly centered on military and law enforcement action overseas.
Media has virtually ignored domestic security issues.
Nacos’s study
American news media did not believe there was a need to focus on domestic security.
Televisions’ preference for sensational events
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Infotainment Telesector
Barber calls the twenty-four-hour news networks the infotainment telesector.
Media flourishes on one overriding factor: entertainment.
The infotainment telesector is not geared for depth; it is designed to create revenue.
Negative effect on homeland security
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Television Drama
Control of the drama pattern was held in a Western monopoly until recently.
Al Manar television presented a sympathetic view of the al Asqa uprising.
Television makes the viewing audience participants in a terrorist attack.
Television seeks drama, and terrorism provides an unfolding dramatic event.
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As Sahaab versus al Hurra
Al Qaeda’s underground video network, known as As Sahaab, wages an effective propaganda campaign using the Internet.
In response, the U.S. launched al Hurra, an Arabic-language 24 hour satellite station.
Results have been disappointing.
United States has yet to capitalize on the Internet for spreading propaganda.
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Media Bias?
Most mainstream media claim objectivity when presenting information about terrorism.
All news comes with a slant, and reporters are expected to create news frames reflecting their outlet’s orientation.
At one end of the spectrum critics claim the media have a liberal bias.
Others claim that the media have been taken over by conservatives.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Media as a Business
A news organization, a profit-making entity, has the incentive to attract the largest possible audience.
Journalism is a profession.
As news organizations expand, there will be pressures for bias to develop special audiences among liberals and conservatives.
News organizations are increasingly led by boards and groups of owners driven by the desire to make money.
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Censorship
Paul Wilkinson (1997) believes that governments face three choices when it comes to maintaining freedom of the press and combating terrorism:
Laissez-faire attitude
Censorship
Media self-regulation
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Censorship Debate
Democracy is threatened when the government openly censors information.
Censorship could do more to damage freedom than the terrorist attacks themselves.
Others believe that in times of emergency, information must be controlled to ensure the survival of the state.
America was fighting a new type of war and some form of censorship was required.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Take Aways, Part 1
The new media environment refers to instantaneous communication through a variety of platforms. It includes social networks, web pages, e-zines, chat rooms, blogs, and similar forms of communication.
The new media allow for vicarious participation in an event, opportunities for reframing narratives, and the ability for mass communication.
An exponential expansion of the Internet has been the basis of the new media environment. Its power is multiplied because devices are available, powerful, and costs have been reduced.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Take Aways, Part 2
This means that there is extensive competition for presenting a point of view and a news frame, and it leads to charges of biases from all sides.
This is especially true in television because terrorism is a made-for-television drama.
Some scholars have called for limited censorship because the media is so powerful.
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Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.

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