The role of media in Mumbai terror and Venice flood

The role of the media featured in two stories next to each other on the foreign page of De Volkskrant last Friday. The media and all anti terrorism experts are part of the terrorism problem, according to UK terrorism expert Paul Cornish in an interview on the Mumbai terrorist’s attacks.

“Can you please write that we are not drowning here?”, asked a hotel manager in Venice from the Volkskrant correspondent. “The whole world thinks that Venice is flooded for days, as the media only report that the city is flooded. They don’t mention that this only lasted a few hours, by the evening the water had receded.”

“Quite apart from the scores murdered and the hundreds injured, what the Mumbai terrorists really wanted was an exaggerated – and preferably extreme – reaction on the part of governments, the media and public opinion. In these terms, the attackers received as much attention as they could possibly have hoped for, and the Mumbai outrage can only be described as a very significant terrorist success. The attack received saturation coverage in the world’s media from the outset,” wrote Cornish on the intentional BBC World news site

“… The terrorists might have assumed, quite correctly as it happens, that the world’s media and the terrorism analysis industry would very quickly fill in any gaps for them…”.

Cornish concluded: “Welcome to the age of celebrity terrorism. The invitation to the world’s D-list malcontents reads as follows: No matter how corrupt your moral sense, how contorted your view of the world, how vapid and inarticulate your ideas, how talentless you are and how exaggerated your grievance, an obsessive audience will watch your every move and turn you into what you most want to be, just before your death.”

The Venice hotel manager received phone calls from clients who wanted to know if he was still alive. He saw all his bookings for the weekend cancelled. De Volkskrant correspondent reported finding it strange that he had seen images on Monday of people struggling with water 1.60 metre high on places where they were on Wednesday afternoon strolling and enjoying the famous terraces of Venice.

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