1. For centuries, decades, and years now terrorist organizations has used the media to spread their message across the world, reaching hundreds of thousands of people. According, to Felger and Lesinger, “The media do not create terrorism, but certain actions of the media can facilitate the achievement of the strategic goals of terrorist groups” (Felger & Lesinger, 2017). Terrorists’ organizations utilize media outlets such as local and international newspapers and television. The ultimate goal of terrorists groups is to create fear and terror in order to get their message across whether it’s for religion or political reasons. We all know that the media is a powerful tool that sometimes could be misleading. Before the creation of the Internet terrorist would use newspapers, radio stations, and even word of mouth to spread their news. As one can imagine those methods took a while to spread throughout the local community or world. In addition, the facts and small details became lost in the translation of the events that actually took place. In the past terrorists used, rebel radio stations, television, underground newspapers, flyers, posters, and other types of publications to communicate, recruit, train, as a means to spread propaganda (Hoffman, 2006, p. 199).
Terrorist organizations has always used the media to spread propaganda or their agendas, however the 9/11 attacks has forever changed how terrorist organizations utilized the media to spread their fears on a global scale. In today’s society technology has made it a lot easier for terrorist organizations to spread their word and intentions. Just about every person in the world is carrying a smartphone. Smartphones allows individuals to access media outlets at all times. Information can be passed on through smartphones in a matter of seconds. In today’s society terrorist organizations also uses social media to help spread their intentions. They also use social media platforms to recruit and post training videos. In conclusion, after reading this week’s lesson we can determine that before social media, the internet and advance technology it was a lot harder for terrorist groups to spread their intentions, however they still made it happen.
2. In our discussion this week we must analyze the way terrorist organizations “utilized” the media in the past. I specifically highlight the word “utilize” because that’s exactly what terrorist organizations did. They used the media for their own benefit. In Inside Terrorism Bruce Hoffman specifically references the fact that terrorists often relied on the media saying that they needed the publicity and attention to spread their message. He even quoted the expert on terror Brian Jenkins as saying “Terrorism is theatre…terrorist attacks are often carefully choreographed to attract the attention of the electronic media and the international press,” (Hoffman, 2006, p. 174). Hoffman goes on to say that many times media outlets would respond to larger terrorist attacks with small armies to cover the events. This was the kind of attention terrorists craved and needed to get their messages out and acted appropriately to gain that attention. Today incidents that are quick or small often gain similar attention in much simpler ways. The same extreme measures of 9/11 haven’t been duplicated not only because security is better, but also because it is easier for terrorist to convey their message. Smaller isolated attacks can be broadcasted worldwide through social media with ease as compared to needing small armies of media to get any message out in the past.
Speaking of 9/11, it was clear the terrorist methods were beginning to change around this time. Hoffman specifically references how Bin Laden’s videos went from “amateurish” to professionally produced,” (Hoffman, 2006, p. 197). In part this was because of how easily that video could be shared now with the world wide web. As we’ve learned previously, Bin Laden was a smart man. He recognized a new outlet for his media and utilized it by upgrading his marketing department. To dive a bit deeper, in How and Why Do Terrorist Organizations Use the Internet?, it is specifically stated that “The Internet is currently the most popular ground used by terrorist organisations for publishing, communicating and exchanging information,” (Wojtasik, 2017, p. 109). This is because of how easy it is. Isis even uses and manipulates news coverage which can be broadcasted all over the internet. Terrorist have realized how simple it can be to get their messages out through the web and are utilizing all of their available resources.