Archive for February, 2011

Comfort in Fear

Audience receptivity skyrocketed. At just ten years old, even I caught on. My mom brought me to school early to put up posters for the student council election. The election had dominated my priority list; and therefore was at the forefront of my parents’ minds too. Posters, stickers, speeches—the Gregory family had no time for news that morning. When my mom dropped me off, we were perfectly unaware of the largest, most transformative news story to break in years.

I noticed more noise than usual in the empty hallways, but eerie noise. The muffled TV sets, hushed voices, and lack of children or laughter unnerved me enough to show up at my classroom a full ten minutes early. Immediately, I noticed that the TV was on, which confused me because we had no movie planned. My teacher was watching the same show as another teacher, featuring repeated footage of a plane tearing into a building. She was on the phone, and come to think of it, several other teachers I’d passed were making phone calls too. Everyone must be so excited about this show, I thought.

“Oh my god, this can’t be real.” As my teacher spoke those words, I noticed for the first time this was a news show. My teacher explained what was going on, and questioned whether my parents would even want me in school right now. As more students showed up, she lowered the TV’s volume, but she didn’t turn it off; she didn’t even mute it. That TV stayed on all day, still showing the plane tearing into the building.

Two things intrigue me about this memory. I felt unsafe. I felt unsafe in a vague and terrifying way. I didn’t expect an airplane to fly into my school, but I was scared because the people in charge of me were scared. Meanwhile, the people in charge of me were scared because the people in charge of them— or in charge of their world perceptions— were scared too. While the news media were painstakingly familiar with the element of fear, this fear was authentic, and it alarmed everyone.

I also remember how strange it felt that the television was on. At school we learned about the world through the filters of textbooks, never straight off the TV. My classmates weren’t the only non-traditional viewers that day; teachers and employees all over kept the newsfeed constant. These elements— genuine fear and a receptive audience— rendered the traditional US approach to news useless and revealed how US media, in comparison with foreign news sources, uses fear to draw in viewers.

News media depends upon advertising. Since advertisers want to market their products as widely as possible, news corporations must entice plenty of viewers to stay afloat. News, therefore, is not just about information. While networks attempt to objectively deliver facts, they draw upon curiosity and emotions as well. Celebrity news and human interest stories attract viewers, but so does fear. In an article about the use of fear in news media and popular culture, David L. Altheide and R. Sam Michalowski assert that “popular culture [is] oriented to pursuing a ‘problem frame’,” (Altheide and Michalowski, 475) in which media isn’t interesting unless it’s problematic. Furthermore, if the problems don’t pose a personal threat, incentive to watch is still limited. It answers, according to Altheide and Michalowski, the press’s major question: “How can we make real problems seem interesting?” (479) However, the media delivers this fear in measured doses, so that viewers feel the need to stay informed, but still enjoy watching.

Acts of terror did not fit neatly into a problem frame. Journalists followed fear-inducing patterns for murder, for drug busts, for armed robberies. But for once, the content alone induced panic, so where did they come in? Some stations, like CNN, handled the situation inquisitively, with a tone of eerie calm, explicitly refraining from speculation and “panic here on the air” (9/11/01 CNN…). Others, like ABC, attempted to quell immediate shock as the planes hit and broadcast continued. FOX, however, replayed the impact in slow motion and engaged in immediate speculation. A September 12th headline from FOX’s website reads “Arafat Horrified by Attacks, but Thousands of Palestinians Celebrate,” creating an enemy for readers to fear just a day after the attack. The same images aired repeatedly. Without the use of catchy graphics or music, viewers genuinely wanted and needed to see the news. Journalists everywhere were bewildered.

Elsewhere, reporting lacked scare tactics and melodrama. BBC’s 9/11 coverage serves as a precise example. The reporter first covering the event, while not overly quiet, eerie, or dumbstruck, also avoids panic and guesswork. She simply reports calmly and objectively. The September 11th homepage of BBC’s website contains repeated headlines about the terrorist attacks, but avoids catchphrases like “Day of Terror” (September 11 News…). Minimal pictures stand next to the headlines, not exceeding the textbox in size unlike CNN’s and ABC’s dominating photos. However, controversy ensued after a BBC reporter allegedly announced the fall of Tower Seven before it actually happened. Groups who refer to themselves as “truthers” claim that U.S. government, BBC, and other news and governance agencies took part in the attacks ( This controversy may generate suspicion, but it also serves as a perfect example of the “fear [that] pervades popular culture and the news media” (Altheide and Michalowski, 475) taking root in other forms of public discourse.

In Sri Lanka, an attack like 9-11 did not fall so far out of previously established problem frames. “It was not a new experience for our organisation – as Sri Lanka was undergoing a war during this period,” says Shameer Rasooldeen, CNN World View Correspondent and News1st reporter. “Over 60,000 people have been killed during the three-decade long war,” he adds. In regions used to real, constant threats, reporters and news broadcasters don’t need to turn to scare tactics. Here perhaps, a genuine need for awareness draws in enough viewers on its own. The United States, however, took a few days to fit the events within a somewhat familiar frame. “Subsequent to the aftermath of the attack, probably after two days, there were opinion pieces and even stories about survival and the reaction from the world,” Rasooldeen recalls. “[They] turned this incident in a way that created somewhat of a hatred towards the Muslim community around the world.” Here he notes US attempts, just days after the attack, to hold onto the audience by embellishing the events with controversy. Instead of continuing to encourage controversy, Rasooldeen suggests the US media report more on the subsequent attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan. “What about the human rights of the innocent civilians in these countries?” he asks. “Let’s not talk about terrorism alone. If we can make a difference in the people’s lives, let’s do it and start that effort now.”

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 did generate more global awareness within the news. According to a data generated by PDT Research, coverage of terrorism increased by 135 percent in the years following 9/11, coverage of US foreign policy by 102 percent (How 9/11…). However, journalists still deliver that global awareness in an exploitative manner. Foreign news gained a presence on the nightly newscast, but not at the expense of human interest and celebrity stories intended to draw viewers in. Just months after September 2001, a study conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism announced that “eight-in-ten evening news stories concern[ed] government, national or international affairs, up 67%” (Before and After). But four years later, the total ratio of hard to soft news hardly changed (How 9/11…). Only coverage of national hard news decreased significantly to make room for more international news. “Although subjects such as drugs and crime were the traditional ways of making people frightened, they are easily trumped by terrorism,” explains ADT Research’s Tyndall Report (How 9/11…). If the media sought increased viewer awareness, time spent on celebrities could instead catch viewers up on uncovered events leading up to the shock of 9/11. Instead, the press simply catered to the audience’s limited attention span, talking more about the world until that got boring. Terrorism, today, has lost its genuine shock factor, and “the war on terror” serves simply as another phrase to generate that comfortable fear that keeps viewers hooked. If an event as unexpected, powerful and tragic didn’t change the sensational attitude behind news reporting, perhaps only a shift in news format will.

Works Cited
Altheide, David L. and R. Sam Michalowski. “Fear in the News: A Discourse of Control.” The Sociological Quarterly. 40.3. (1999): 475-503. Web. Feb. 6 2011.

9/11/01 – CNN News Coverage 1st 5 Minutes. 9 July 2007. Youtube. 5 Feb. 2011. Web.

“Arafat Horrified by Attacks, but Thousands of Palestinians Celebrate; Rest of World Outraged.” 12 Sept. 2001. Web. 6 Feb. 2011.

Williams, A.D. September 11 News. Web. 5 Feb. 2011.

“Before and After. How The War on Terrorism Has Changed The News Agenda.” Project for Excellence in Journalism, 19 Nov. 2001. Web. 5 Feb 2011.

“How 9-11 Changed the Evening News.” Project for Excellence in Journalism, 11 Sept. 2006. Web. 5 Feb 2011., 2001. Web. 6 Feb. 2011.

News Coverage of September 11th, 2001

News Coverage of September 11th, 2001

The attack that occurred on September 11th, 2001 on the World Trade Center in New York City is an event that lingers in the minds of many Americans and other people throughout the world. Most people can recall exactly where they were and whom they were with when they first heard about the airplanes crashing into the towers. It was a day that changed the way people looked at the world and brought to light the realities that even the wealthiest and most military advanced country was not safe from acts of terrorism.  The dangers posed by religious extremist  were being carried out on national and international news outlets live in front of millions if not billions of people worldwide.  The events that occurred on this day changed the way journalism was practiced both by U.S. and foreign media outlets.  This essay examines how domestic and foreign news stations covered the events of 9/11.

As the events unfolded right in front of the eyes of America the framing of the news that day was done without preparation.  Recollecting back to September 11th, 2001 the images being seen across the world were astonishing. In the beginning of the news coverage by the majority of the news stations both national and international, everyone seemed to be amazed and confused about what exactly was going on.  No one knew if the first plane was purposely crashed into the first tower or if it were a small passage plane that accidently flew into its side.

Once the second plane crashed into the other tower it was evident that it was done deliberately. Live broadcast from Sky news focused on the live events as they were taking place.  Sky news relied on images from colleague stations in the United States such as CBS and FOX news channels to bring live image feeds from New York City into the homes of people in Europe. Sky news did not associate terrorism with the plane crash into the World Trade Center until after the second plane crashed into it because it was evident it was done so purposely. BBC World as they reported the events in New York City, would only classify the event as two plane accidents and did not associate it to any act of terrorism.  According to “Television journalism during terrorist attacks” by Kirsten Mogensen, she states “terror events happen so quickly that there is hardly anytime to check the information. On September 11th, 2001, major television networks chose to transmit from the World Trade Center even though their anchors did not know what had happened. The viewers saw the pictures on the screen at the same time as the anchors did (Morgensen 38).” Garry Tuchman a National Correspondent from CNN states, “ The most important thing is to be accurate…be honest and explain that there’s a lot of commotion and chaos. And while you’re staying clam, explain we’re trying to gather the information the best we can.  We are going to give it to you as it comes but if we’re not sure about it, we’ll make it clear to you (Morgensen 38).” Newscasts from NBC, Sky, and BBC World reported the news almost identical and in a way that informed viewers that they too were unsure of the motive if any behind the plane crashes into the twin towers. It was clearly stated by both domestic and foreign news stations that many detail were unclear and they would be made available as they came in. It was not only a story that affected Americans but also people throughout the World. For the first time since Pearl Harbor Americans were being attacked on their own soil. Due to the surprise and scale of the attacks of 9/11 it focused the worlds’ attention to New York City because it showed if this could happen to the mightiest country in the world it could happen to any other nation.

It is important to note the way in which the news was broadcasted.  A new name would become embedded into the minds of Americans, Osama Bin Laden along with his terror network known as Al Qaeda.  As the media in the United States began to find a motivation behind the attacks it also began to associate images of terrorism to people from the Middle East, primarily people of the Islamic faith. The media began to negatively affect the way Muslims would be viewed not only in the United States but also in many countries of the World.

Gordon Friedrichs of Frankfurt, Germany can recall the moment when he first learned about the terrorist attacks in New York, “I just came back from school (High school) and turned on the TV. It was around 2pm here in Germany and the first picture I saw was the first tower burning. I thought it was a trailer to a movie or something until I realized I was actually watching the news.”  Gordon mentions that out of Germany’s six-news station, consisting of two public and four private networks all simultaneously reported live about the events in the United States. The broadcasts in Germany included interviews from people from the streets of New York, various experts, politicians and local reporters.  He further mentions that the newscast began to include facts and detailed information on Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda as an effort to try and make sense of these attacks.  When asked, what was your initial reaction to the events? Gordon gave a very interesting answer. “Actually, my first thought was: this will be war. I was still in High School so I did not have an analytical or sober view on American politics like I have today, but the picture that was portrayed in Germany about the Bush administration (hardline, hawkish conservative) led me to the thought that this is going to get us into a war scenario. I think pretty much everyone felt shocked and couldn’t believe it. I felt fear though. Fear because I was afraid the US will overreact. We were taught about WWII and the nuclear bombing on Japan and I saw similar pictures in my head. I was also afraid of additional terrorist attacks, not so much in Germany, but maybe other parts in the U.S. forcing the country into chaos.” This is a very interesting perspective for someone to have about the reaction of the U.S. government.  Looking back at history it is understandable why Gordon would have this view on the possible overreaction of the United States military because the last time American soil was attacked it lead to a long bloody war that utilized a nuclear warhead, killing hundred of thousands of Japanese people.   

Many people could not believe that an attack of this calibre could be plotted and carried out against the world’s leading super power and many were worried about the reaction the U.S. government would have. Many countries feared they would be attacked and many others felt this would lead to World War III.  When posed with the question, do you think 9/11 changed the American news media in any way? Gordon responded, “As a non-US citizen you might get the impression that the war on terror sharpened the tone on how to protect the country and the world from such a threat. At the same time you might also think that the media uses this topic for their own purpose, namely to promote their ideological principles, whether they are liberal or conservative. I do think that the media now talks about topics which had been taboo for a long time, therefore creating a different level of readiness among the people for cuts of their rights.” Did it change the news media in your own country? “It did not really change the news media in general, like the kind of presentation or structure,” Gordon Stated.  “It did change the selection of topics though. Topics that are correlated to terrorism or are an immediate consequence of the war on terror enjoy now a higher sensitivity as well as a higher attention by the media. We almost had a 24/7 news coverage on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and we are always sensitive to new terrorist attacks around the world. Moreover, as soon as there are events happening such as in Tunisia or Egypt right now, the news media considers potential uprising of fundamentalists or terrorist groups. So all in all, I believe the way international politics is covered in the media changed slightly, drawing the attention and the people’s awareness to the presence of terror in the world.”

It is clear to see that American and British news stations covered the attacks carried out on September 11th, 2001 almost identical.  The way in which the news was broadcast live as the events were unfolding that day allowed for viewers and news anchors to be informed simultaneously while also being accountable to the audience for the information being administered. On the other hand news coverage has changed slightly post 9/11 giving higher sensitivity to terror attacks and organizations across the globe.

Works Cited

Archetti, Cristina. “Comparing International Coverage of 9/11: Towards an Interdisciplinary Explanation of the Construction of News.” Journalism (London, England) 11.5 (2010): 567-88. Print.

BBC 9/11 Coverage. 2001. Retrieved February 5th, 2011,

Hahn, Oliver. “Transatlantic Foreign Reporting and Foreign Correspondents After 9/11.” The international journal of press/politics 14.4 (2009): 497-515. Print.

Li, Xigen, and Ralph Izard. “9/11 Attack Coverage Reveals Similarities, Differences.” Newspaper Research Journal 24.1 (2003): 204. Print.

Mogensen, Kirsten. “Television Journalism during Terror Attacks.” Media, war & conflict 1.1 (2008): 31-49. Print.

NBC 9/11/01 2nd Plane Collides. 2001.  Retrieved February 5th, 2011.

PÅ‚udowski, Tomasz. How the World’s News Media Reacted to 911 :Essays from Around the Globe. Spokane, Wash.: Marquette Books, 2007. Print.

Sky News September 11th, 2001. 2001. Retrieved February 4th, 2011.

Stacks, John. “Hard Times for Hard News: A Clinical Look at U.S. Foreign Coverage.” World policy journal 20.4 (2003): 12-21. Print.

September 11 in the Basque Media in Spain

Basque newspaper Deia on line site

By Aleksandra Dukovska

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) is not only the historical chapter in the Spanish book of post – Second World War evidence of terrorism acts. ETA is a reality that opens questions and put them into a context of international terrorism attacks. In the aftermath of September 11, leading Spanish newspapers, such as El Pais, wrote and tried to inform the readers in Spain on main news developments, opinion of American President George W. Bush and to compare with the Spanish context and opinions of leading Spanish officials.

However, the view on the Basque media can put different light on the post 9/11 news coverage in this province of Spain. ‘As one might expect, Basque media tended to project Basque problems onto 9/11 attacks’, wrote Terresa Sabada in the article Each to his own, published in the international journal Television and Media. She argues that even though the reasons for World Trade Center attacks are different from ‘those related  to the terrorism lived in Basque Provinces’, identical discourse ‘that had typically framed the reports of an ETA attack were extended to the 9/11 events’. The wordiness in the speech of former prime minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar was full of understanding and support towards the USA, with his open message to the public in Spain. As Sabada mentioned, recently after 9/11 attack Aznar said that in Spain “ we know that kind of suffering” and “we know how to react.”

Despite the position of Spain leading officials who supported USA in the aftermath of 9/11 events, the position in the media was framed according the cultural beliefs and editorial policy of different newspapers. “Cultural filters that modify and adopted what is in principle a global message for a local audience through a study of the coverage of 9/11 and the terrorist attack perpetrated in Madrid on March “2004 as received in the main Spanish newspapers”, wrote Terresa Sabada and Teresa La Porte in the book Media, Terrorism and Theory. Depending on the filters and the media discourse, Sabada and La Porte, defined three main position in the Basque media. In their analysis published in the book Media, Terrorism and Theory, Sabada and La Porte concluded that the regional newspaper El Correo Espanol followed ‘the government preference of denying the possibilities for negotiation and that the violence should be stopped by counter-terrorist intelligence and direct police action.’

Sabada and La Porte recognized a very different and contrasting views in the newspaper Deia. They concluded that Deia rejected the Spanish government view that compared Basque terrorism with the World Trade Center attacks’ and wrote with ‘editorial strategy that makes differentiate between terrorism and war.’ One of the main line that dominates in the Deia was the ‘For Bush, they are not yet terrorists but enemies.’  That can be concluded with the Deia post 9/11 articles content analysis made by Sabada and La Porte. The differentiation Deia editorial strategy made on the war and terrorism in the context of who the targets are. In the war the targets are armies or enemies, while in terrorism or terrorist attacks the targets are civilians. Although, one of the targets of 9/11 attacks was the Pentagon building were 184 people died. Having that in mind, it is understandable that Deia tried to raise the issue of distinction between Basque terrorism and 9/11 attacks. By making that dividing line they send the message the war on terror actions can’t be implemented on Spain ground.

Sabada and La Porte followed the wording used on the Basque news television channel and underlined they ‘tried to avoid the use of terms such as “terrorist” or “terrorism” and instead used more euphemistic phrases such as “the people who attacked the World Trade Center” or “the ones who did this horrible action.”

To conclude with the opinion of Sabada and La Porte, ‘Basque media coverage of 9-11 shared one characteristic: all found analogies with the situation and problems in the Basque Province and helped Basques understand what was happening in the United States’.  It is reasonable for both authors that the way reporting was ‘framed also raised the question about the role played by national media in the times of global conflict.’


  1. Sadaba, Teresa. “Each to his own.” TELEVISION & NEW MEDIA 3.2 May (2002): 219-22. Web.26 Jan. 2011. <>.
  2. Kavoori, A. P., & Fraley, T. (Eds.). (n.d.). Media, terrorism, and theory (pp. 219-222). Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved January 26, 2011, from (Original work published 2006)
  3. Aznar: “Ha sido un ataque contra todos nosotros”. (2001, September 12). In Retrieved January 26, 2011, from

September 11 In The Media of Macedonia: Case Of A Small State

Photo from:

Pen Pal Stevo Pendarovski – University American College Macedonia
It is understandable that global media will be shaping the patterns of local responses in the country of two million people, especially regarding the pivotal events with the far-reaching consequences.
Beyond doubt, Macedonia was at the receiving end of the post September 11 reporting which have originated mainly from the American soil.
The unavoidable components of the very first local news were emotions and empathy with the suffering of the ordinary people along the lines of the notorious phrase “We are all Americans today”.
Second “mandatory” element was the official viewpoint of the local institutions, with “barbaric” and “horrendous” being the two most frequently applied words of condemnation.
Lastly, literally each statement has automatically qualified the attacks as terrorism, without having a clue about the eventual perpetrators and their motives.
However, shortly afterward, reporting from the spot on the casualties and on the damage done began going in parallel with the analyses about the background of the whole event. Having been away for thousands of miles, local journalists have simply reproduced the media reports from the USA and their explanations on the surroundings on the event, without attempts to inject domestic input.
Few months later the then local political elite started to frame 9/11 in the local context publicly stating that allegedly two countries have similar problems facing terrorism. The background was ripe: in 2002 country have been through a complex post-reconciliation process between ethnic Macedonians and Albanians who year ago instigated an armed rebellion.
For the whole time a strong nationalist current in the Macedonian Government labeled Albanian extreme groups as terrorists and in the post- 9/11 context it seems appropriate for them to emphasize that while USA is not negotiating with terrorists Macedonia is doing quite the opposite.
Public reaction to the Governmental propaganda was meager. In general, majority of the people have been confused about the definitions while being aware that someone’s terrorist might be somebody’s freedom fighter. Ordinary citizens have shown a great sense of reality for the multiethnic composition of the country. The key tenet that common future should be forged by mutual commitments of all people, regardless of their ethnicity, still holds.

Is The Tucson Tragedy Terrorism?

Is The Tucson Tragedy Terrorism?

The shooting carried out against Congress woman Giffords and others around her by Jared Lee Loughner is a horrific event that has shocked the nation.  The attack that occurred on January 8th, 2011 in a Safeway grocery store parking lot in Tucson, Arizona has become known as the Tucson Tragedy. It is definitely a traumatic event but can this act be classified as act of terrorism?  When posed with this question it is hard to come up with a quick answer.

At first thought, the word terrorism brings to mind an image of an Islamic extremist carrying AK-47s and suicide bombers usually carrying out an attack on a large population.  The term terrorism is a hard word to define and there are many interpretations to the meaning of it. The definition that comes to my mind is a person or group of people trying to instill fear in a population and to show their government cannot protect them. Some may argue that the shooting rampage was an act of terrorism such as Jesse Jackson and others argue that it was purely a tragedy as mentioned in the speech given by President Barrack Obama. The President goes on further to state in his speech “For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.” Nowhere in his remarks does he use the word terrorism or terrorist.

The image seen in our heads when thinking about terrorism is one that has been molded and shaped by the media and the government. Most recently terrorism has been most associated with the terror organization Al Qaeda headed by Osama Bin Laden, originating from the Middle East region of the World.  This can cause many people to only connect terrorism as an act that is carried out by foreigners against the United States and not by people within the country.  So when events such as the “Tucson Tragedy” take place most people do not see it as an act of terror but just some nut case on the loose on a bloody rampage.

The targets of the shooting were political officials that included a United States Congresswoman, a federal judge, their staff, and as well as innocent bystanders.  Due to the positions of these officials and a letter that was found in a safe owned by Jared Loughner from Representative Giffords with the words “Die, bitch” and “Die, cops” written across of it, it is understandable why many people would classify this act as terrorism. However, Jared Loughner has yet to be charged with terrorism and has been formally charged with the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing a federal employee, and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. Other murder and attempted murder charges are expected to be filed for the non-congress and federal employee victims. It is still unclear why he has not been formally charged with terrorism by authorities, this may be because Jared’s motives for the killings are still unclear and there is still an ongoing investigation.

 Although there is no real definitive definition of terrorism most define it as an act carried out against people for religious and ideological reasons.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA define terrorism as the use of force or violence against a person or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion, or ransom.  As you can see there truly is no specific definition of this term which makes it tough to completely understand.

 Whether or not the “Tucson Tragedy” can be determined an act of terrorism is to first find out what Jared Loughner’s motives were for the attack.  Was he an extreme Islamist? Was he part of a domestic terror organization? Or was he just a mentally ill person on a rampage that day?  Until his motives behind the events are uncovered it is difficult to really determine whether or not the shootings that day was an act of terror driven by extreme religious ideologies; or whether or not it was just a man that needed mental medical treatment who simply gone untreated and lost it.

Works Cited

“General Information About Terrorism.” The Departent of Homeland Security. 11 Aug. 2010. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. <>.

Jackson, Jesse. “View Tucson as Act of Terrorism.” Politico. 14 Jan. 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. <>.

Obama, Barrack. “Http://” ABC News/Polical. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. <>.

“Terrorism 2002-2005.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. <>.

Marc, Thiessen. “Jared Loughner’s Hate Came before the Tea Party.” The Washinton Post. 12 Jan. 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. <>.

Was The Tucson Tragedy Terrorism?

Was The Tucson Tragedy Terrorism?

The events that happened in Tucson were one of the moments in your life, where you can ask, “Where were you when…?” Everyone has been asked “Where were you when 9/11 happened?” or more recently, “Where were you when you found out Michael Jackson died?” The Tucson shooting brought up the question, “Where were you when Rep. Giffords was shot?” The events in Tucson were very tragic. But, was not an act of terrorism. The shooter in Tucson, as far as we know had no political ties to any organization, did not have an ties to any terrorist organizations, and was not charged with any terrorist acts in court.

Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman in the deadly Tucson shootings is not a terrorist. He is an American citizen who just went down the wrong path, a path that he has been going down for years. His path was not lead by any political affiliation that we are aware of. On it states. “Accused Arizona gunman Jared Lee Loughner was not registered to any political party, and in fact hand wrote ‘independent’ on two separate voter forms, county officials said” (Accused Gunman Had No Party Affiliation). Many people in the media were really looking for Loughner to be part of a political party and he is not. It is unfair to call this an act of political terrorism.

Loughner is not known to have any ties to any terrorist groups. All we know, from what the media has told us, is that he has had a troubled life. Loughner had been kicked out of college, dropped out of high school, and was not admitted to the military because he failed his drug test. There has been many questions around the internet and also including from myself, why isn’t Jared Lee Loughner a “home-grown terrorist”? I believe he is not labeled a home-grown terrorist because everything I mentioned above. He has a record of a troubled life, not necessary a criminal record but a mentally unstable life. I believe that the American Government should take blame for not seeing the direction Loughner’s life was going and for not taking action. Loughner is mentally unstable and acted on his thoughts, and the events in Tucson are an example of that.

If you want to call someone a terrorist you have to charge the person with terrorist acts in the court of law. Loughner will be charged with, “attempting to assassinate Giffords, two counts of attempting to murder her aides, killing District Judge John Roll and Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman. If indicted in those killings he would face the death penalty” (Loughner is Indicted in Tucson Rampage). Loughner is not being charged with an acts of terrorism. Jared Lee Loughner is not a terrorist, but rather, an individual in America who did not get the proper mental health treatment, and acted on what he thought was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, there are many more people out there in America who think some of the crazy thoughts Loughner felt on the morning of the Tucson shooting. We cannot convict every single “crazy person” as being a terrorist.

All in all, the Tucson shootings are something that almost every American will remember vividly in their minds for the rest of their lives. But, this again was not an act of terrorism but rather an individual who had a very unstable life and did something that he probably thought would “benefit” the community in someway.

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Terrorism and the Press

This blog is an integral part of a special section of Honors 394 Spring 2010, Arizona State University. Rather than a routine history course this dynamic, interactive seminar explores the interplay between terrorism and television, and other media sources on-line and in print. 26 students and their global pen pals comprise the bloggers. We welcome all to share their opinions, pertinent observations, insights, comments, feedback. Please post in a responsible manner.