20 April 2007

Manipulating the Media

Why do you think mass murderers and terrorists take the time to document their work in multimedia manifestos and then mail them to the media?

Howard Kurtz doesn't know:

The criticism was reminiscent of the first days after the 9/11 attacks, when the networks kept replaying footage of a plane hitting the World Trade Center before deciding to use it more sparingly.
Jay Rosen tried to explain it in May 16, 2004, News Judgment Old and News Judgment New: American Nicholas Berg Beheaded; and again in Not Up to It
Terror today relies on the news media to complete the act. It knows the news media will, most of the time, cooperate, on the principle of reporting “what happened.”
It came up again recently when CNN aired video supplied by the "Islamic Army in Iraq." From Reliable Sources:
KURTZ: Rachel Maddow, what about the notion that CNN is handing a propaganda victory to terrorists who want to kill Americans?

MADDOW: I don't think that we're doing the insurgents any favors by showing them this video. I don't think we're doing the terrorists any favors by showing this video. And I don't think we do American troops any favors by shielding the American public from the kinds of dangers they're facing on the battlefield in Iraq.

The messenger here is not the problem. The fact that our soldiers are facing this kind of terror is important to the American public and our understanding of what we're involved in in Iraq.

I mean, you don't -- you don't consider us publicists, you don't consider the media publicists for suicide bombers when they blow up marketplaces. You don't consider the American media, you know, publicists for pedophilia when you cover the Mark Foley scandal. I mean, it doesn't work that way.
Um, Rachel, just so you know, I do consider you publicists, polemicists and players hiding behind a false front of objectivity.

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