Suicide Bombing and the Press. By Mike McCray


The greatest ally that Islamist terrorist organizations using suicide bombers have is the press. The primary goal of suicide attacks is projecting power. These attacks are always reported either in print, over the Internet, on television or radio. If terrorist’s power is demonstrated and a government appears weak, it is a successful suicide mission.
Press organizations seldom or never cover the victims of these attacks. There are few stories about the suffering of the wounded. The grieving father is never interviewed about the loss of his son. The widow is ignored her loss, only recorded as a number, an object slaughtered in a power struggle. As long as no emotional bonds develop between the victims with the global Muslim public, it is a successful suicide mission.
The bomber is glorified in militant media, and useful for recruiting. Even when the identity is known, global & Muslim press seldom covers the bomber as a killer of the innocent by name. No public outrage is directed at the murderer. Militant media has a hero unchallenged, and another successful suicide mission.
Politicians reacting to public fear promote policies that further project terrorist power. The bomber changes the behavior of a society. The greater the level of government condemnation and reaction the more successful the mission.
Suicide bombing missions serves political goals more than any military objectives. Terrorist organizations at present have no incentive politically to end the practice. It is a successful tactic as long as power is projected and it does not create so great a public outrage as to frightens potential supporters.
The practice can not be stopped militarily. Suicide attacks only stop when the terrorist command structure decides that it is politically detrimental to continue the tactic.
It is the legitimate role of the press to report suicide attacks. Blood and fear naturally draw news coverage.
However, most press organizations serve groups like al-Qaeda with incomplete coverage. Superficial reporting allows tyrants without states to keep a presence on global the stage. They kill their own followers in order to murder those whom they seek to rule, to project power. They manipulate blood and fear to obtain their power through the media.
Until we see Muslim victims and their families portrayed as more than numbers by the global media and the bombers (if known) are scrutinized, by the press, as any other killer would be, the tactic will continue.

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