'Redefinition of image': The impact of mass-mediated terrorism

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The emergence of media-oriented terrorism led several scholars of modern terrorism to reconceptualize the phenomenon of terror within the framework of symbolic communication theory. However, the success of media-minded terrorists has been studied mainly by measures of amount of coverage given to terrorist acts and not by examining the impact of this coverage on public opinion. The present study sets out to examine the effects of media coverage of two terrorist events on the public's attitudes and perceptions. By means of an experimental design, the impact of press and television reports of two terrorist incidents was studied. The findings highlight the 'redefinition of image' caused by exposure to media reports and relate media functions such as status-conferral and agenda setting to the specific case of mass-mediated terrorism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1990

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
• This study was funded by a research grant from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn, Germany. 1 Gted by C. Dobson and R. Paine (1977, p. 15).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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