Very good post from Instapundit on the role of the [M]edia and terrorist coverage:
media attention isn’t just neutral coverage — the way it generally is with, say, urban crime — but rather the actual goal of terrorists. In fact, it’s their lifeblood. Terrorism is an information war disguised as a military conflict, and media coverage is an essential part of the terrorist plan.
Media people know this, and even admit it, but don’t let it affect their coverage — though as Pam Hess of UPI admitted, they’re far more careful about being spun by the U.S. military — and one reason why they don’t let it affect their coverage is that terrorism gives them ratings. That’s what I meant by their mutually-supporting relationship. Terrorist provide ratings (and, as we’ve seen, often via staged news events) and news media provide the coverage that terrorists need. As I’ve noted in the past, news media are entirely capable of moderating their own coverage when they think the stakes are high — say, protection of confidential sources, or promotion of racial tolerance — but here they clearly don’t feel that way. If they applied as much skepticism and adversarialism to terrorist behavior as they do to the U.S. military, few of us would be complaining.