Media Coverage and Political Terrorists : A Quantitative Analysis
This book studies what has generally been regarded as intangible: the relationship between news media coverage and terrorist success. 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), Richard W. 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.
In Chapter 1, Schaffert establishes a definition of political terrorism by identifying the basic elements that distinguish it from other forms of political violence, then rigorously applies this definition throughout his analysis. The functions of political terrorism are reviewed, with special consideration given to the use of terrorism as an instrument of politics. Schaffert evaluates state experiences with political terrorism in terms of the nature of the threat, countermeasures employed, the media's role, and the relationship between public, press, and government. Finally, the question of the responsibility of a democratic society's media in the reporting of terrorism is considered. Schaffert's extensive database, which is included as an appendix, will prove invaluable for further research in the area.