Media Coverage and Political Terrorists: A Quantitative Analysis

Media Coverage and Political Terrorists: A Quantitative Analysis

Media Coverage and Political Terrorists: A Quantitative Analysis

Media Coverage and Political Terrorists: A Quantitative Analysis

Synopsis

Utilizing his four-year database of barricade-and-hostage and hijacking atrocities by international terrorists and the coverage afforded those events by newspapers from three Western nations (Germany, Great Britain, and the United States), Schaffert observes the effect of media coverage (newspaper column space provided, articles and photographs published) on whether concessions were made to terrorist demands, and establishes a strong positive relationship between coverage and terrorist success.

Excerpt

This analysis begins with the derivation of the elements common to terrorist atrocities worldwide, and the examination of those elements, with the objective of formulating a universal basis for the definition of political terrorism.

A review of the literature reveals some of the reasons for the current lack of progress toward a universal definition of political terrorism. For example, a significant portion of the literature labeled "political terrorism" fails to distinguish between the general category of political violence and the subcategory of terrorism.

The analysis proceeds with the investigation of some of the earlier analytical efforts that contributed to the general confusion over the concept of political terrorism. A critique of nonproductive attempts to define political terrorism through the identification of perpetrators and their causes is offered, and an evaluation is made of the usefulness of the many typologies of terrorism that exist in the literature.

An overview of the employment of terrorism as an instrument of politics is presented. Of continuing and current interest is the employment of terrorism by national liberation movements and ideologies. In a world-order system functioning under the threat of nuclear holocaust, a natural progression away from open warfare has precipitated a movement toward state support and sponsorship of international terrorism. The procedures and implications of the employment of terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy are examined by considering the cases of the Soviet Union and Iran.

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