Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Media Narratives Feed Terrorists

Brett Stephens writing in the Wall Street Journal points out that the media could bear some responsibility for stoking the fires that drive terrorists to commit their atrocities.

Case in point,
For purposes of self-justification, Azam Amir Kasab, the only terrorist taken alive in last week's Mumbai massacre, offered that the murder of Jews in the city's Chabad House was undertaken to avenge Israeli atrocities on Palestinians. Two other terrorists cited instances of anti-Muslim Hindu violence as the answer to the question, "Why are you doing this to us?" before mowing down 14 unarmed people at the Oberoi Hotel. And if dead terrorists could talk, we would surely hear Abu Ghraib mentioned as among their reasons for singling out U.S. and British hostages.
According to Stephens, "ne suspects the terrorists spent far too much time listening to the BBC World Service."

Some examples of media excess that gave rise to "grievances" against the West:

  • In the spring of 2005, Newsweek ran with a thinly sourced item about the Quran being flushed down a Guantanamo toilet. Result: At least 15 people were killed in Afghan riots.
  • The refusal of French reporter Charles Enderlin and his station, France 2, to retract or even express doubt about his September 2000 report on Mohammed al-Durrah, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly killed by Israeli soldiers during an exchange of gunfire in the Gaza Strip -- an exchange Mr. Enderlin did not witness.
Read Media Narratives Feed Terrorists

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