Home Emergency Management News Would Denying Publicity to Terrorist Attacks Stop Terrorism?

Would Denying Publicity to Terrorist Attacks Stop Terrorism?


By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Terrorist attacks are designed to be horribly frightening to victims who experience an attack firsthand and to first responders. Terrorist attacks often bring with them the reality of mass casualties and the unsettling knowledge that similar attacks will happen again in the not-so-distant future.

Terrorist attacks are also highly publicized because of each attack’s violent nature. The sensationalism of a terrorist attack often has millions of viewers paying attention to the news and trying to make sense of all of it.

This is the problem with the reporting of terrorist attacks; the publicity inspires terrorists to commit more attacks. What would happen if the media didn’t comment on these attacks and just let them pass by? Would terrorist incidents decline if no one cared about them?

Sensationalism Is Hallmark of Terrorist Attacks

Terrorism thrives under the media’s spotlight. People continue to be afraid of terrorist activity when they watch the news, and terrorists who carry out the attacks want citizens to be afraid.

Ultimately, this sensationalism fuels a vicious cycle. Terrorist attacks become a high priority at news outlets, which influences the potential for more terrorist attacks in the future. But at the same time, citizens need to understand what is going on, so the attack appears in the news.

Media Blackouts Could Be a New Method of Frustrating Terrorists

For the victims involved in the attack, it is almost a way to honor their lives by including them in news reports. Terrorist attacks are political in nature and often look to kill as many people as possible with the highest amount of publicity.

Denying terrorists their publicity could potentially take away the thunder from those who carry out the attacks. From a security standpoint, it would be interesting to simply stop reporting terrorist attacks. The lack of coverage might prove to be beneficial, especially if it saved lives.

In the last few weeks, it appears that terrorist activity increased around the world. This week alone, there was a bombing in Egypt and another attack in Sweden. Terrorism is unfortunately here to stay, but media blackouts may prove to be strategic in combatting terrorism.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.