Archive for the ‘Media Coverage’ Category

Munich Reflection- Uncertain Revenge

In an effort to commemorate the Munich Massacre during the Summer Olympics in 1972, Steven Spielberg directed Munich, a fictional account of the retaliation attacks performed by a secret Israeli organization. Though the media coverage shown during this crisis is minimal, the use of actual footage provides a fair account of the media during this time.  But the most profound effect is Spielberg’s call for peace, with the film focusing on the never-ending cycle of violence that occurs with terrorism and counterrorism. Read more

Bloody Sunday Reflection

Paul Greengrass’ Bloody Sunday, the highly acclaimed ‘mockumentary’ of the massacre in Derry on January 30, 1972 is recognized not only for its unique filming style but also for its unique stance on the British side of the conflict. In an attempt to avoid being subjective, the film goes beyond the typical portrayal of the British as heartless murderers and gives them a voice during this conflict. Although the film is not seen as a “fair” portrayal by all, it stands as an exceptional view on the massacre that allows the viewers to be personally affected by the film. Read more

Fear: Box Office Hit

The press, and film can be considered two of terrorism’s most prominent outlets in distributing and creating fear.  One of the most prevalent examples of our obsession with fear lies in the depiction and portrayal of terrorism.  Its presence will never age with time, and its existence knows no countries’ borders.  While we read about terrorist attacks everyday in the paper, its stories are carried onto film, and other means of media. Whether its context is completely accurate, or created by art directors, or whether it’s an article in the newspaper, or a box office hit “based on actual events”, its only message to its audience is “fear”.  While it may not seem obvious at first glance, film and the press produce many of the same effects.  Both the press, and film tell stories.  They also tell stories through an angle, or bias known as framing.  While the press may decide to produce a story on terrorism at an angle that focuses on government contribution, film makers may chose to tell the story from an emotional perspective which focuses on personal hardship throughout the event.  Film and the press also help to shape the opinions and thoughts of their viewers through this framing.  Whether the thought is positive, or negative, the plot of the story told is what shapes it.  The two have, no doubt, different purposes, but their final message always remains the same: be afraid.

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Appearance of Invisible Morality

The concept of morality may be the one and only concept that people spend their entire lives studying, and searching for, but never find the right answers.  What is morality?  The Oxford American Dictionary defines morality as “the principles of concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior”.   While the definition seems simple, the confusion lies in the definitions of good, bad, wrong, and right.  While attempting to define these concepts of morality, our focus should not be on those who do wrong, but rather we should reach further and discover the fuel, which drives immorality to the surface.

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An hour with Aaron Brown

Aaron Brown’s visit to the Terrorism and the Press “think-tank” on Thursday, April 22, was nothing short of captivating. Although I was not aware of the extra credit assignment regarding guest speakers in the course, I was compelled to start writing down what Brown was saying.

Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown sat down with the class to discuss his views on terrorism and the press

As if it was a press conference or a one-on-one interview, I knew he was going to say things I would regret missing if I didn’t have them down on paper. Throughout the course of the conversation, the class developed a relationship with Brown, and as the class became more comfortable asking questions, he began to answer is a frank, candid manner.

Brown’s opinions on terrorism and the “War on Terror” are what dominated the conversation from the beginning. Being that it is a course dedicated to the topic of terrorism, almost ever question he faced was related to terrorism in some way.

The sound bites he provided were, in some cases, remarkable. At one point, when asked about how he fell about Timothy McVey’s execution and subsequent request to have it nationally televised, Brown said, “I would have shown McVey’s execution at the IMAX theatre complete with the 3-D goggles.”

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A conversation with Lebanese pen pal: “Econo-terrorism”

A conversation with my pen pal from Lebanon, Winston Smith*, discussed a recent incident in Lebanon and how the media portrayed it:

“A recent event in lebanon is hezbollah responding to israeli threats against lebanon. Nasrallah told them that if they  think of bombing us again, Hezbollah we’ll circumsize them again. pretty tense…people are talking about another war in the summer; but then again if it’s on everyone’s mind then it wont happen. its all about disturbing our economy. they’re thinking of raising TVA to 15%..CRAZY so that might lead to some domestic disturbance. the way news is portrayed here is rather simple. the anchor says a few words about the incident and then we hear it again from some minister or member of parliament as the camera switches from the studio to the Parliament or Sara’ii. Or they buy some feed from a foreign (developed) station and just air it on their time. yap yap yap…you’re class sounds soo much fun. terrorism and media. terrorism sells ratings…media sells terrorism, its a love story you can’t miss.”

The impact of terrorism, or more so, acts of violence on the economy? Perhaps we can coin this “econo-terrorism”? A popular motive behind acts of violence and disturbances in countries around the globe.

The Never-Ending Cycle of Violence

           Barnett & Reynolds describe framing as a way to provide a “context and suggest what the issue is through the selection, emphasis, exclusion and elaboration” this in turn can influence the audiences opinions, “the way terrorism is framed dictates the way the public will perceive it”(2009, p.4). In Steven Spielberg’s movie Munich, framing strategies were used to describe the retaliation of the massacre that took place in 1972 at the Summer Olympics in Germany. Spielberg described in the director’s introduction to Munich that the movie is “not meant to be a documentary” rather a story based on a historical event (Munich). Knowing this, how is it that Spielberg framed the story line of Munich for the audience and are these historical events depicted in an accurate manner? Read more

Bloody Sunday: A slanted mock

         A mockumentary also known as a “mock documentary” is a parody of the often earnest nature of the documentary film genre as stated by WiseGeek (What is a mockumentary?). The film “Bloody Sunday” directed by Paul Greengrass and produced by Mark Redhead attempts to describe to the viewers a real life setting of the attacks in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1972. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association had planned a peaceful, yet illegal, march against the British government on January 30th 1972 which was stopped by British paratroopers after they fired on the demonstrators and killed 13 people as well as injured 14.  It is still unclear which party fired the first shot. The British army however claimed that it fired only after being fired upon, while the Roman Catholic community asserted that military snipers opened fire on unarmed protesters (Bloody Sunday). Bloody Sunday is a theatrical attempt at describing this controversial march, how did the Greengrass and Redhead give viewers a real life portrayal of the incident and were they successful at doing so without any bias involved? Read more

A Band-Aid on a Bullet Wound: “The Hurt Locker”

         On March 7th, 2010, Kathryn Bigelow walked home with 6 golden statues and the title of first female director in history to take home an Oscar of “Best Director”. Sergeant First Class William James, the main character in The Hurt Locker conveys to the audience what it is like to take part in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, disarming bombs. The bomb specialist, through instilling great amounts of fear, drove this film to honor however, of the many depictions created on the war on Iraq, why was it that this movie took home the majority of the Oscar pie? Character development and cinematic elements placed the viewer between the detonation wires but may have also placed a barrier between the sensationalized story and harsh realities that have taken place during the war. Read more

Pen Pal View on Somalian Islamists

Somalian Islamist Insurgents

A few weeks ago I saw an article in the New York Times ( that talked about how The Shabab, a militant Islamist group in Somalia, had outlawed school bells in the town of Jowhar. The reasoning behind the ban was that the ringing of the bells went against the teachings of Islam. Read more

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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.