Re: Bali Bombing Meme

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu 24 Oct 2002 - 22:41:57 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Meme-physics"

    >From: Bill Spight <>
    >Subject: Re: Bali Bombing Meme
    >Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 11:35:26 -0700
    >Dear Bruce,
    > > My second observation is that, to me, the over the top media reaction to
    >this event is doing everything to
    > > further the terrorist's agenda, and absolutely nothing for the victims
    >or the communities involved. While I
    > > grant that freedom of the press is a basic right in democratic
    >societies, the perpetual publicity of the
    > > event seems to me to be encouraging the perpetrators to do it again.
    >Absolutely. Terrorists count on both media sensationalism and government
    That's a rather simplified way of looking at it. There's a core set of issues and agenda that rests beneath the surface and drives the terrorist mindset just as much, if not more, than the sensationalism or overreaction.

    For ObL the core issues (fatwa related IIRC) have been American presence in the land of Arabia and our relationship with Israel. For the Chechens that have overtaken that theater in Moscow it's the relationship Russia has with Chechnya. For Islamic Jihad and HAMAS its the relation of Israel *vis a vis* the Palestinians in the occupied territories. For Hizbollah its Israeli action in Lebanon in the 80's plus the Palestinian issue. These core issues are behind the actions of these terrorist groups. The actions don't occur in a vacuum and aren't just for the consumption of television viewers.

    I don't know if gov't reaction could be judged as *over*reaction. What was the US gov't to do about al-Qaeda after the 9-11 attacks? Lay down and roll over? What's Israel to do about suicide bombings? Though I think some elements of the Israeli political mix are wrong-headed, I can't expect their gov't to sit back and take suicide attacks on innocent civilians without retaliation. And what should Russia do about its troubles with Chechnyan rebels?

    Press coverage of these situations is important, but there's the danger of sensationalism. I don't know where the line exists precisely between sensationalism and objective journalism. I guess that's one of those ostensive thingies.

    If modern media didn't exist, these terrorist folks would probably still harbor the same resentments and wind up doing something about it (setting an agenda and following it). It's probably true that the media exposure is a factor that escalates things, but is that the fault of media or the terrorists themselves?

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