Have the media contributed to exacerbating the political, cultural and religious divides within Western societies and the world at large? How can media be deployed to enrich, not inhibit, dialogue? To what extent has the media, in all its forms, questioned, celebrated or simply accepted the unleashing of a ‘war on terror’? Media and Terrorism brings together leading scholars to explore how the world's media have influenced, and in turn, been influenced by terrorism and the war on terror in the aftermath of 9/11. Accessible and user-friendly with lively and current case studies, it is a perfect student text and is an essential handbook on the dynamics of war and the media in a global context.
Chapter 15: Terrorism and News Narratives
Terrorism and News Narratives
Justin Lewis argues that terrorism provides a particularly potent story for the media as it has all the perfect ingredients – violence, drama, fear, and so on – to make great news. He contrasts coverage of the ‘terror threat’ with that of climate change and finds that, while the latter almost certainly poses much greater risks to the future of humanity, the former continues to command our attention. News values, which ‘over-represent’ terrorism as a threat, coincide with economic and political pressures to fix ‘terror’ as a decisive narrative in the contemporary media landscape.
When asked to define news, journalists tend to shy away from offering anything more than the vaguest criteria, preferring to invoke their own professional instincts ...