Terrorism and the Mass Media after Al Qaeda: A Change of Course?

This article analyzes the possible relationship between terrorist groups and the media. As an example, a case study on the Al Qaeda organization will be used. Our methodology will involve analyzing the content of its public statements and examining the developments that have taken place during its history as an organization. Both perspectives suggest that terrorism’s view of the media, far from being composed of rigorous ideological or political principles, is shaped by their calculations of estimated opportunities. Its perception of the mass media, has depended on its perception of estimated media impact. This has determined three stages during its history: 1) Hostility toward media that it has held responsible for hiding or distorting its message; 2) Adaptation to a new environment where there are networks that are willing to interpret reality from a perspective similar to the jihadist point of view 3) Exploitation of the Internet as an indirect means of obtaining the mass media’s attention.

Tags: Al-Qaeda, Content Analysis, Mass Media