Terrorism and the Media: From the Iran Hostage Crisis to the Oklahoma City Bombing

Overview

Over the last fifteen years, incidents of terrorism have become increasingly common. Until recently, however, Americans believed that such violent acts would not occur on American soil. The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building were rude awakenings. In this important, up-to-date study, Brigitte L. Nacos contends that terrorists are very successful at exploiting the vital links among the news media, public opinion, and decision making - a pattern which ...
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Overview

Over the last fifteen years, incidents of terrorism have become increasingly common. Until recently, however, Americans believed that such violent acts would not occur on American soil. The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building were rude awakenings. In this important, up-to-date study, Brigitte L. Nacos contends that terrorists are very successful at exploiting the vital links among the news media, public opinion, and decision making - a pattern which the author calls a calculus of violence. She demonstrates that terrorism works because media coverage influences the American public to support government responses that protect the victims of terrorism, most of all hostages, at the expense of the national interest. In a new Preface for the paperback edition, Nacos includes important recent events, showing how right-wing radio talk shows, Penthouse, and The New York Times all played pivotal roles in articulating the causes of terrorists such as the Michigan Militia and the Unabomber.
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Editorial Reviews

Martha Crenshaw
This book is a welcome and valuable addition to the literature on terrorism.It fills a gap by providing a uniquely detailed and comprehensive examination of the relationship between terrorism, the media, public opinion, and government decisionmaking in the American context.
Political Science Quarterly
Brigitte L. Nacos has written a definitive study and provides an exhaustive statistical base to support her analysis.
Friday Review of Defense Literature
Her book is a proverbial breath of fresh air blown into the stuffy catacombs where U.S. policy on this subject is made.
Booknews
At a time when US national security experts anticipate more acts of international terrorism at home and abroad, Nacos contends that terrorists are very successful in exploiting the vital link between the news media, public opinion, and decision-making--that terrorism works because media coverage of such incidents influences the American public to support government responses that protect the victims of terrorism, most of all hostages, at the expense of the national interest; and moreover, that presidents and other high-level officials tend to follow public opinion. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The Friday Review of Defense Literature
Her book is a proverbial breath of fresh air blown into the stuffy catacombs where U.S. policy on this subject is made.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231100144
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 8.12 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Brigitte L. Nacos, a longtime correspondent for newspapers in Germany, teaches American government and politics at Columbia University. Dr. Nacos is the author of The Press, Presidents, and Crises published by Columbia University Press.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition
Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: The Calculus of Violence 1
2 Terrorism, the Media, and Foreign Policy 16
3 Terrorists and Their Goals 48
4 The Polls and the Theater of Terror 75
5 Terrorist Spectaculars and Presidential Rallies 94
6 Decision Makers and Their Hard Choices 122
7 Conclusion: Must Terrorists Succeed? 149
Notes 163
Appendix 185
Bibliography 199
Index 209
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