Surrealpolitik

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  1. "A charade, with Andreotti, the then prime minister, helping to cover it all up, and those who ended in jail were minor players. The point is, everything we heard was false or distorted, and for twenty years we've been living a lie."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 204
  2. "But I agree that rather than giving out information someone would be able to check, it's better to limit yourself to insinuation. Insinuation doesn't involve saying anything in particular, it just serves to raise a doubt about the person making the denial. For example: 'We are happy to note the explanation, but we understand that Signor Perniketti' -- always keep to Signor, rather than Onorevole or Dottor; Signor is the worst insult in our country -- 'has sent dozens of denials to countless newspapers. This must indeed be a full-time compulsion.' This way, readers become convinced he is paranoid. You see the advantage of insinuation: by saying that Perniketti has written to other newspapers, we are simply telling the truth, which can't be denied. The most effective insinuation is the one that gives facts that are valueless in themselves, yet cannot be denied because they are true."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 68-69
  3. "It is signed by Veruccio Veriti. So, what's the point of this denial of a denial? Point number one, that the newspaper has received the information from sources close to Signor Perniketti. This always works. The sources aren't given, but it implies the newspaper has confidential sources, perhaps more reliable than Perniketti. Use is then made of the journalist's notebook. No one will ever see the notebook, but the idea of an actual record tends to inspire confidence in the newspaper and suggests that there is evidence. Lastly, insinuations are made that are meaningless in themselves but throw a shadow of suspicion over Perniketti. Now I don't say all denials have to take this form -- this is just a parody -- but keep in mind the three fundamental elements for a denial of a denial: other sources, notes in the reporter's notebook, and doubts about the reliability of the person making the denial. Understood?"

    "Very good," they replied in chorus.

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 67
  4. "Only in 1984 does an investigating judge, Felice Casson, discover that the explosive used at Peteano came from a Gladio arms depot...And you understand that if a military secret service has three policemen blown up, it won't be out of any dislike for the police but to direct the blame at far-left extremists."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 210
  5. "The point is that newspapers are not up there for spreading news but for covering it up. X happens, you have to report it, but it causes embarrassment for too many people, so in the same edition you had some shock headlines -- mother kills four children, savings at risk of going up in smoke, letter from Garibaldi insulting his lieutenant Nino Bixio discovered, etc. -- so news drowns in a great sea of information. I'm interested in what Gladio did in Italy form the 1960s until 1990. Must have been up to all kinds of tricks, would have been mixed up with the far-right terrorist movements, played a part in the bombing at Piazza Fontana in 1969, and from then on -- the days of the student revolts of '68 and the workers' strikes that autumn -- it dawned on someone that he could incite terrorist attacks and put the blame on the Left."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 194
  6. "Wait here till I get the morning editions," said the stranger. They were full of all the details about the Nine Prominent Critics Die By X-Ray Bullet, and it went on to relate how reason shuddered when the city waked up today to find that such men as Harry Hansen, William Soskin, Heywood Broun, Bruce Gould, Waldo Frank, Henry Seidl Canby, Asa Huddleberry and James Thurber and George Jean Nathan were made the victims of a dastardly attack late last night and the police were hopelessly at sea because no motive could be imagined for the murders unless by the Communists from Moscow. The stranger looked worried. Then his brow cleared.

    Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 165-166
  7. "You know, during those interviews I had an idea: one could prepare them in advance, for radio and television, as a sort of stockpile: on amalgamation, wages, cultural affairs, on domestic and foreign policy, on security matters. One could even introduce slight variations to provide a semblance of actuality...it's possible that the taped word sounds more alive than the live word -- Veronica once tried to explain to me that artificial birds, mechanical ones, can walk more naturally than live birds -- I keep thinking about that -- in the same way a sound or video tape might sound much more spontaneous than a live interview -- what they call live is deader than dead. As dead as the little paper that died under my hands -- and proliferates..."

    Source: The Safety Net, p. 226-227
  8. 'I wonder,' said Stewart, 'why there's been so little in the press about Nathan Fox. I only heard on the radio that he'd disappeared suddenly from your house. And they don't include him in the gang. Maybe they couldn't find a photograph of him. A photo makes a gangster real.'

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 431
  9. The Good Terrorist is an exemplary novel about terrorism. Factually inaccurate or at least radically selective about its facts, despairing about public action, reactionary in its implied politics of quietism and complicity with power, the novel faithfully follows its more prestigious models -- Demons, The Secret Agent, The Princess Casamassima...Yet the novel's meaning does not really depend on its accuracy about the IRA or contemporary terrorism, about which it in fact seems to care very little. What attracts the novelist to her subject is a fascination with the inaudibility of personal voices, with the fragility of printed books in a world where the electronic media accent our speech and feed our violence.

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 90-91
  10. A few of this generation [note: early 20th century] of owners used their wealth to protect and promote decent journalism, but most behaved like Lord Beaverbrook, the model of this kind of proprietor, who famous explained his role as owner of the Daily Express: 'I run the paper for the purpose of making propaganda and with no other motive.'

    Source: Flat Earth News, p. 16
  11. Anthony Kubiak, in Stages of Terror (1991), does endeavour to offer a theory of how terrorism's violence and mediation become entangled. Like Zulaika and Douglass, he prefaces his investigation by foregrounding the role played by the media: 'Terrorism first appears in culture as a media event. The terrorist, consequently, does not exist before the media image, and only exists subsequently as a media image in culture.' In light of this, Kubiak argues that we need to 'reverse' the usual emphasis on the 'symbiosis' of the two: 'the media do not merely need and support terrorism, they construct it mimetically as a phenomenon'. As I have already shown, such a view is not uncommon in terrorism studies more generally, and not without its critics.

    Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 17
  12. As a premise, terrorism tends to be about the Other; i.e., one's country, one's class, one's creed, one's president, oneself can hardly be a terrorist...Accordingly, a cursory examination of how news is produced reveals the decisive import of one's own government's perspective in journalistic reporting. The example Cooper adduces is the bombing of La Belle Disco Club in West Berlin on April 5, 1986, which Soviet media described as engineered by the CIA and the Mossad, whereas the U.S. media attributed it to Libyan-sponsored terrorists. The counterposed stories ignored the other side's version, did not grant equal time to neutral spokespersons, and failed to reveal their sources. Rather, they constituted mutually irreconcilable "accounts" of the same events.

    Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 13
  13. As terrorists grew more savvy about television, they threatened to take control away from broadcasters. A German television journalist noted that during the Baader-Meinhoff organization's kidnapping of Peter Lorenz in 1975, "We lost control of the medium. We shifted shows to meet their timetable..." Terrorist acts, argues N.C. Livingstone, are custom-made for the medium; they are relatively concise, dramatic, and "not so complex as to be unintelligible to those who tune in only briefly...terrorism is so ideally suited to television that the medium would have invented the phenomenon if it had not already existed".

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 12-13
  14. Both spectacles [i.e., the Nuremberg rally and Bush's "mission accomplished" pageant] are examples of the distinctively modern mode of myth creation. They are the self-conscious constructions of visual media. Cinema and television share a common quality of being tyrannical in a specific sense. They are able to block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, of its total impression.

    In a curious but important way these media effects mesh with religious practice. In may Christian religions the believer participates in ceremonies much as the movie or TV watcher takes part in the spectacle presented. In neither case do they participate as the democratic citizen is supposed to do, as actively engaged in decisions and sharing the exercise of power. They participate as communicants in a ceremony prescribed by the masters of the ceremony. Those assembled at Nuremberg or on the USS Abraham Lincoln did not share power with their leaders. Their relationship was thaumaturgical: they were being favored by a wondrous power in a form and at a time of its choosing.

    Source: Democracy Inc., p. 2-3
  15. But even the most critical movies see the world through the lenses of western, and usually US, eyes, and indulge an exaggerated confidence in the willingness of the US press to expose wrongdoing and hold the powerful to account.

    From chapter: Hollywood, the CIA, and the 'War on Terror' by Oliver Boyd-Barret, David Herrera, and Jim Baumann
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 132
  16. But if the language of public discourse is debased, Lessing seems to find no consolation in the language of literature and political theory. True, Alice is the image of a person in part created by the mass media who will read nothing but newspapers because she cannot face the "risky equivocal" contents of books, fearing to be "lost without maps" (73). But Pat, who reads Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark and then joins the KGB, and Faye, who is "particularly well up on Althusser" and then dies because she mistimes a car bomb, are worse, not better, models (318). Perhaps the point is not that Althusser and Nabokov somehow breed terrorism, but that the small personal voice of printed books is drowned out by the loud impersonal voices of the mass media, with their affiliations to power and consumers' interest in violence.

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 80
  17. Clearly, the poor quality of US journalism, specifically its coverage of military conflicts, is significant here. These failings are produced by four forces, which I have analyzed elsewhere in depth: transformations in the wider political economy of journalism; financialization -- over-reportage of news from the perspective of capital; emotionalization -- the emphasis on news from a feelings point of view; and a chronic dependency on official sources -- the Pentagon as truth-teller (Miller, 2007). But we must equally understand public ignorance in the light of nationalism.

    From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 101
  18. From ancient times the witches had danced in the cavern through wars and persecutions; many a time when I was pursued I would hide with the witches, and was always received with courtesy and kindness. As you are no doubt aware, my mission through the ages has been to carry uncensored news to the people, without consideration of either rank or status. This has made me unpopular with the authorities all over this planet. My object is to help human beings to realize their state of slavery and exploitation by power-seeking beings.

    Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 145
  19. Historically speaking, 9/11 was certainly a world event with wide and tragic consequences, also for the global respect for freedom of expression, civil rights and international law. Dissident voices and alternative information sources are regarded as Fifth Columns instead of as the Fourth Estate, and are targeted as enemies, almost equivalent to illegal combatants.

    From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 219
  20. If terrorism is propaganda by deed, the success of a terrorist campaign depends decisively on the amount of publicity it receives. Seen in this perspective, the journalist and the television camera are the terrorists' best friends.

    Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 121
  21. In our view, terrorism's "reality" is intrinsic to certain kinds of behavior -- play, threat, ritual, dreaming, art -- characterized by a radical semantic gap between concrete action and that which it would ordinarily denote...Moreover, the capacity of terroristic activities to have an impact is largely contingent upon their being played out on the hyperreal screens of the electronic mass media. Hence, the quest for some definitive distinction between the real and the unreal is futile.

    Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 16-17
  22. In such fashion there is blurring of the line between fact and fiction in ostensibly objective journalistic reporting, particularly since it is the very nature of covert operations and intergovernmental confidentiality to place a premium more upon "deniability" -- a fancy expression for mendacity -- than upon veracity. Hence the novel's plot of intrigue and the journalist's political discourse collapse into the monolithic frame that we have labeled contemporary terrorism discourse.

    This blurring of genres is further exacerbated by the propensity of some journalists and counterterrorism specialists to author terrorism novels (e.g., Robert Moss, Arnaud de Borchgrave, William Buckley Jr., Brian Crozier). Thus, at terrorism conferences it is not uncommon for the experts to discuss their next fiction project!

    Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 48
  23. In the 1960s, the sociologists Galling and Ruge (1965) attempted to define those features that made some events or issues 'news' while others are ignored. Although their list is suggestive rather than comprehensive, a series of newsroom ethnographic in the 1970s (notably Schlesinger, 1978; Gans, 1979; Tuchman, 1978) confirmed that news-making is more a matter of manufacture than mystery.

    From chapter: Terrorism and News Narratives by Justin Lewis
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 258
  24. In...earlier wars, media outlets and personalities have been indicted for their role in instigating conflict and contributing to it...The post-World War II Nuremberg Trial established a precedent in this regard...[T]he protection case, argued by Drexel Sprecher, an American, placed considerable stress on the role of media propaganda in enabling the Hitler regime to prepare and carry out aggression that violated the laws of war. The use made by the Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack.

    From chapter: Challenging the Media War by Danny Schecter
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 313
  25. It is about this point in the play, in fact, that things really get peculiar, and a gentle chill, an ambiguity, begins to creep in among the words. Heretofore the naming of names has gone on either literally or as metaphor. But now, as the Duke gives his fatal command, a new mode of expression takes over. It can only be called a kind of ritual reluctance. Certain things, it is made clear, will not be spoken aloud; certain events will not be shown onstage; though it is difficult to imagine, given the excesses of the preceding acts, what these things could possibly be.

    Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 51
  26. It is less often registered that the main contribution of the media is to 'the perception more than the reality of the terrorist threat', as Simon notes, and that it tends to widen and dramatize the public notion of the threat. More commonly and intemperately, analysts and politicians have asserted that publicity is the 'oxygen' of terrorism.

    Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 138-139
  27. It is this link to the mass media that leads most scholars to conclude that the insurgent terrorism that evolved in the second half of the nineteenth century was something new and not merely a repetition of the violent conspiracies that marked political history long before Brutus stabbed Caesar. Scorned by Lenin and Trotsky alike as representative action undertaken by the intelligentsia on behalf of a distrustful proletariat, terrorism is more a violent means of communication than a direct strike at militarily significant targets.

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 5
  28. It's not the news that makes the newspaper, but the newspaper that makes the news.

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 60
  29. Job's problem was partly a lack of knowledge. He was without access to any system of study which would point to the reason for his afflictions. He said specifically, "I desire to reason with God," and expected God to come out like a man and state his case...Everybody talked but nobody told him anything about the reason for his sufferings. Not even God when he appeared. Our limitations of knowledge make us puzzle over the cause of suffering, maybe it is the cause of suffering itself...As I say, we are plonked here in the world and nobody but our own kind can tell us anything. It isn't enough. As for the rest, God doesn't tell.'

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 418-419
  30. My analysis of terrorism through literature is also intended as a contribution to debates about terrorism's figurative aspects more generally. For while many literary and critical theorists contend that we have moved from modernity to postmodernity, from capitalism to 'late-capitalism', from structuralism to poststructuralism -- and, moreover, that these shifts have had profound influences on socio-political practices generally -- it is rare to see these terms or debates being filtered into terrorism studies, despite its frequent references to fictionalization and theories of discourse.

    Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 20
  31. No bombs, no machine pistols, no "hot" birthday cakes -- just an accident in the bathtub -- what would they get out of that? What good would it do them to prove their power without being able to demonstrate that power publicly?

    Source: The Safety Net, p. 98
  32. Numbers of 'CIA movies' increased significantly in the 2000s...These movies frequently rewrite history to support US interests or soften potential critique. Some are supportive of the institutional CIA, CIA protagonists, and US foreign policy. Some favour only one or two of these three. Occasionally a movie is critical of all three. Movies commonly acknowledge popular disquiet with CIA methods while quietly endorsing the authority of its 'parent', the global hegemon. Spying and covert activity are unquestionably 'normal'. If 'normalization' was Hollywood's only ideological work, this alone would contribute to US empire.

    From chapter: Hollywood, the CIA, and the 'War on Terror' by Oliver Boyd-Barret, David Herrera, and Jim Baumann
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 116-117
  33. Once published by an "expert," such findings become part of the scientific discourse and recur throughout the terrorism literature. Nor are such conclusions devoid of political significance when they are recycled as unquestionable dogma by counterterrorism officials. This was the case with Paul Bremer III, Ambassador at Large for Counterterrorism, who recapitulated Post's skewed data about the Basques before the Norwegian Atlantic Committee in Oslo, Norway, February 4, 1988. Thus, the highest-ranking US counterterrorism official, in an address ironically entitled "Terrorism: Myths and Reality," employed data that anyone familiar with the Basque case knew to be utterly erroneous. Such a deceptive metaterrorism game, by which experts are allegedly capable of sorting out "reality" from "myth," is an integral part of the entire discourse's strategy of self-authorization.

    Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 55
  34. Rather than uncritically reproduce propaganda rhetoric from politicians, we suggest that journalists carry out their own investigations of the legal basis for warfare in cases like Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts. The first step could be to listen to what the juridical experts say about the legal issues...Humanitarian rhetoric applied in selective or biased interpretations of international law...needs to be scrutinized by public media.

    From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 216-217
  35. Since [the French Revolution], governments have been on any quantitative measure the most prolific users of terroristic violence. Yet there is no hint of this in the dominant official discourse, whether of national or international law. In that discourse, terrorism is used by extremists -- rebels -- against the established order -- the state.

    Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 24
  36. Terrorists succeed when they seize headlines. Yet this very success means that they and their causes are understood in terms set by popular journalism. If television "coproduced" the Palestinian hijacker of the 1970s, it also ensured that for a global audience a few images and sound bites would constitute Palestinian history.

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 5
  37. The eagerness of the parties in conflicts to censor journalists as well as to attack them physically are important obstacles to reporting from conflict areas. Statistics indicate that journalists are often targets in recent wars. According to the IFJ, more than 1,100 journalists and media employees were killed on duty between 1995 and 2007. The number of journalists killed worldwide has risen 244 percent between 2002 and 2007. Statistically speaking, journalists were ten times more likely than any of the 250,000 American and British soldiers to be killed in Iraq, which has been the most dangerous place to work as a journalist in recent years. A vast majority of the journalists killed in Iraq were not embedded. The embedded journalists were protected physically by being in military units and, more importantly, their presence was regarded as beneficial by the military. Are other journalists and media facilities perceived to be legitimate targets in modern warfare?

    From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 216
  38. The effectiveness of terrorism in achieving national liberation also appeared to be demonstrated in the Algerian war of independence. The Front de Libération nationale (FLN; National Liberation front) launched its rebellion in 1954 but was making little progress until it adopted in 1966 the terrorist logic advocated by Ramdane Abane. Abane urged that a single killing in Algiers -- where the US press would report it -- was more effective than ten in the remote countryside, and he insisted that the morality of terrorism simply paralleled that of government repression.

    Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 94
  39. The experiences of dead journalists and the case of WikiLeaks should be understood in a context of the emergence of a threat-society as a later phase of the risk-society Beck wrote about more than two decades ago (Beck, 1986). In threat-society there are trends that work as undercurrents, and channel opinions towards accepting violations of human rights and international laws for the sake of security. The culture of fear has a firm grip on popular culture, mediatized discourses and people's minds, and it is exploited for threat policies based upon speculative threat images together with public appeals for patriotism and trust to the leaders in these difficult times. In particular, the militarization of security policy implies that democratic deliberation is moulded into an iron cage of complicity and subordination .

    From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 218-219
  40. The film [Spy Game] uncritically adopts a US-framed list of 'good' and 'bad' nations, reinforcing a world view that synchronizes with US policies. North Vietnamese sympathizers are 'bad' in the Vietnam War: no call for ethical qualms over torture and death visited upon neutrals and nationalists alike by Phoenix.

    From chapter: Hollywood, the CIA, and the 'War on Terror' by Oliver Boyd-Barret, David Herrera, and Jim Baumann
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 118
  41. The government took PR to a new level: it is now called PM for 'perception management' and it treats war as a product to be 'rolled out' and promoted. It is serious and systematic. It branded the war and used advertising-like slogans to sell it...Anchormen complained the the media had gone from being a watchdog to a lap dog, but did nothing about it...It is important to understand that this does not add up to a critique of a few lapses or media mistakes. The Iraq War was more than a catalogue of errors or flaws. The war was shaped for coverage, planned and formatted, pre-produced and aired with high production values, designed to persuade, not just inform. What we saw and are seeing is a crime against democracy and the public's right to know.

    From chapter: Challenging the Media War by Danny Schecter
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 314-315
  42. The hyperbolic as I have described it is not limited to 11 September, though; rather, it is an index of the way that performative aspects of discourse generally, and figurative language in particular, can affect the nature of material events, just as material events can modulate discursive practices.

    Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 6
  43. The key point is that the gaps in audience knowledge very closely parallel the absences in news reporting.

    From chapter: Pictures & PR in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Greg Philo
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 162
  44. The millennium bug is only one example of a systemic weakness which quietly has overwhelmed the communications media, leaving governments all over the planet and their billions of citizens embarking on a new era in which they continue to pour time and energy and money into frantic activity which frequently proves to be built out of untruth.

    This is Flat Earth news. A story appears to be true. it is widely accepted as true. it becomes a heresy to suggest that it is not true -- even if it is riddled with falsehood, distortion and propaganda.

    Source: Flat Earth News, p. 12
  45. The Nuremberg prosecution raised an issue that is of the greatest relevance today: the role of Nazi media propaganda in inuring the German population to the sufferings of other peoples and, indeed, urging Germans to commit war crimes. Historical parallels are never exact and I am not here to argue that because the Nazis distorted their media, the US or British media are Nazis. That is specious reasoning. But a broader point, also argued at Nuremberg, does have resonance today. Many in the Pentagon believe to this day that it was the media coverage that was responsible for the loss of the Vietnam War. That led to large amounts of money and manpower invested in controlling the media in preparation for future wars.

    From chapter: Challenging the Media War by Danny Schecter
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 313
  46. The overall effect of the symbiotic relationship between the media and terrorism has been the exaggeration of the importance of terrorism, and its embellishment. This stems from the inclination towards sensationalism by the media and their bias towards violence. They have also contributed to the spread of terrorism, though it is difficult to assess with any certainty to what degree they have done so.

    Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 126
  47. The report does not render the bloody room legible; rather it catalogues the impressions left by objects in the room in a way that isolates empirical detail from analysis and inductive reasoning. The elements of empirical reality may all be present, but their arrangement is not subject to logical reconstruction, nor does it obey the continuities of naturalist description; the details instead form a meticulous yet blindly taxonomic inventory. This primal scene of murder may know something, but it does not necessarily make any sense.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 29
  48. The US response to 9/11 became, if not a turning point, at least a radicalization of the American practicing of double standards -- in legal matters in general and in the treatment of media and journalists in particular. Numerous examples of improper interference with freedom of the press in the US after 11 September 2001 have been documented (Ottosen, 2002b). Even more remarkable is that the American authorities have tried to broaden their media control on a global scale. The first step after the attack against Afghanistan on 7 October 2001 was that the Pentagon bought up all the images from commercial satellite companies that could potentially be used to challenge the official US views on the development of the war.

    From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 214
  49. The victims, the martyrs, only served to enhance the power of the media: it was a kind of sorcery, an irrationalism, enough to drive one into total paralysis.

    Source: The Safety Net, p. 133
  50. The view that terrorism and the media form a 'symbiotic relationship' is certainly commonplace, although there is significant disagreement about what form the symbiosis takes. For commentators such as Russell F. Farnen, the media is the dominant partner: 'what we know as terrorism is actually a media creation: mass media define, delimit, delegitimize, and discredit events that we have not actually seen...' Those like H.H.A. Cooper are more cautious: 'The media certainly does not create the terrorist, but like a skilful make-up artist, can assuredly make of him either a Saint or a Frankenstein's monster.' In contrast to these views, other commentators assert that it is the terrorists who direct the show. J. Bowyer Bell, for example, argues that 'To be free means that the media are open to capture by spectacular events. And the media have been captured, have proven totally defenseless, absolutely vulnerable.' This has certainly been a view held by governments in the past, the UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for example, famously declaring that the media provides 'the oxygen of publicity on which [terrorists] depend'. Accordingly, the UK government at one time placed a Broadcast Ban preventing members of proscribed organizations in Northern Ireland from talking on UK television or radio.

    Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 11
  51. There is also a sense in which the framing of the journalistic report is beyond the individual reporter's control. Public officials and government policy set the parameters. "The State Department stated today that terrorists kidnapped an American professor in Beirut" can be modified slightly by the skeptical journalist, e.g., "The State Department alleged today," but only within strict limits. It is therefore virtually impossible for the journalistic account to begin "The State Department's questionable [or deceptive or false] claim today..."

    Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 45
  52. There is, then, an incommensurability between popular narrative pragmatics, which provides immediate legitimation, and the language game known to the West as the question of legitimacy -- or rather, legitimacy as a referent in the game of inquiry. Narratives, as we have seen, determine criteria of competence and/or illustrate how they are to be applied. They thus define what has the right to be said and done in the culture in question, and since they are themselves a part of that culture, they are legitimated by the simple fact that they do what they do.

    Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 23
  53. We are baffled by the use and abuse of terrorism discourse; we voice our skepticism. After many years of writing on the issues of political violence, our misgivings about the intellectual and moral values of the concept of terrorism have only increased. We are bothered by the referential invalidity, the rhetorical circularity that is all too characteristic of much that goes on under the rubric of "terrorism." It is the reality-making power of the discourse itself that most concerns us -- its capacity to blend the media's sensational stories, old mythical stereotypes, and a burning sense of moral wrath. Once something that is called "terrorism" -- no matter how loosely it is defined -- becomes established in the public mind, "counterterrorism" is seemingly the only prudent course of action. Indeed, at present there is a veritable counterterrorism industry that encompasses the media, the arts, academia, and to be sure, the policy makers of most of the world's governments.

    Source: Terror and Taboo, p. ix
  54. We in Washington are accustomed to the petty scandals of Washington politics. However, there is another category of offenses, described by the French poet Andre Chenier as "les crimes puissants qui font trembler les lois," crimes so great that they make the laws themselves tremble.

    [W]hen the Iran-Contra scandal exploded in 1986, both the Congress and the national mainstream media pulled up short. . . . The laws trembled at the prospect of a political trial that threatened to shatter the compact of trust between the rulers and the ruled, a compact that was the foundation upon which the very law itself rested.

    The lesson was clear: accountability declines as the magnitude of the crime and the power of those charged increase.

    Source: October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan, p.
  55. What goes into the newspaper is what most people will accept as the chronicle of their public life; the mass newspaper normalizes certain behaviors and stigmatizes others; even its silences...signify. While some nineteenth-century novelists served an apprenticeship in popular journalism, most saw it as a competitor, a threat to their own sales, cheapening language and shortening the reader's attention span. Revolutionaries, on the other hand, gradually learned how to use the mass media to disseminate their message.

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 4-5
  56. [Following fascism and Communism] Now it is terrorists who lurk in every shadow, images of terrorist attacks that fill our television screens, and fears of new varieties -- nuclear, biological, cyber-terrorism -- that drive calls for increased surveillance and larger defense budgets. If such Orwellian transformations in the identity of the enemy do not make us skeptical, an element of construction in political and journalistic rhetoric about terrorism, even in terrorist acts themselves, seems inescapable. Bombings and hijackings begin with a few people plotting violence for maximum exposure, come to us on television, where distinctions between news and entertainment are ever more tortuous, and quickly pass into the popular imagination, into blockbuster movies and paperback thrillers.

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 1
  57. [Georges] Sadoul's essay is by far the most paranoid, arguing that the popular appeal of magazines like Detective extended the reach of the powerful right-wing police chief Jean Chiappe....For Sadoul, the law was merely the pretext for a conspiracy of police forces, whether professional, amateur, or journalistic...[H]is intent is to suggest the complicity of even this widely read magazine...with the ideological function of police activity. This function is fascist, Sadoul argues, to the extent that participation in the surveillance and pursuit of so-called criminals is less a question of desire than an automatic function of the state...the sensationalism Sadoul decries represented not a liberation of desire or an explosion of perversity but, as Aragon similarly expresses in his "Introduction to 1930," the "revenge of censorship on the unconscious."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 156-157
  58. [I]t is critical to note that the surrealists' reaction to the Noziere affair is different from their relation to Violette herself as either a body, a subject, or the object of their attention. In the book she remains very much a set of signifiers, never photographed or represented "realistically" like Germaine Berton or the Papin sisters, insofar as her features, appearance, and physicality are not fixed in or by a single image...Breton explains this process of transmutation into myth in the book's first lines, as a function of the media spectacle Violette has become:

    All the world's curtains drawn before your eyes
    It's pointless for them
    Before their mirror gasping for breath
    To stretch the jinxed bow of ancestry and posterity
    You no longer resemble anyone living or dead
    Mythological to the tips of your fingernails

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 209
  59. [With reference to McNamee's Resurrection Man] Coppinger and Ryan feel "obsolete, abandoned on the perimeter of a sprawling technology of ruin"; print journalists in an electronic age, they must cope with a "new species of information" coming out of paramilitary organizations operating under cover names, or from politicians who condemn violence ambiguously, or from courts where unidentified witnesses give their evidence from behind screens...Television news already incorporates this understanding about the marginality of fact. Even Victor recognizes the "narrative devices" it uses...we easily assume that when their reports diverge from fact, they serve some obscure political interest..."Atrocity reports" eschew detail and "achieve the pure level of a chant. It was no longer about conveying information. It was about focusing the mind inwards, attending to the durable rhythms of violence".

    When journalism is no longer about conveying information, journalists like Ryan and Coppinger disintegrate, and even the terrorists whose actions form the ostensible subject of media stories feel disoriented, experience a loss of self.

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 48-49
  60. [With regard to swallowing newspapers] So, after Blume, we'll swallow Küster, then Bobering, and it will all turn into a gray, horrible newspaper mush, with a few tiny dashes of liberalism. I have allowed our little paper to decay, I have allowed it to die..."

    Source: The Safety Net, p. 227