Terrorism, the Media and Public Opinion
The goals and motivations of terrorists, as we have seen in previous chapters, vary widely, from such grand schemes as the total remaking of society along doctrinaire ideological lines or the fulfilment of some divinely inspired millenarian imperative to comparatively more distinct aims such as the re-establishment of a national homeland or the unification of a divided nation. Still other terrorists are motivated by very issue-specific causes, such as the banning of abortion, animal rights or opposition to nuclear power, and seek to apply direct pressure on both the public and its representatives in government to either enact or repeal legislation directly affecting their particular interest. Despite these many differences, however, all terrorist groups have one trait in common: none commits actions randomly or senselessly. Each wants maximum publicity to be generated by its actions and, moreover, aims at intimidation and subjection to attain its objectives. In the words of the late Dr Frederick Hacker, a psychiatrist and noted authority on terrorism, terrorists seek to 'frighten and, by frightening to dominate and control. They want to impress. They play to and for an audience, and solicit audience participation.' 1
Terrorism, therefore, may be seen as a violent act that is conceived specifically to attract attention and then, through the publicity it generates, to communicate a message. 'There is no other way for us,' a leader of the United Red Army (the 'parent group' of the Japanese Red Army) terrorist group once explained. 'Violent actions. . . are shocking. We
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Inside Terrorism. Contributors: Bruce Hoffman - Author. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 131.