|Media often acts like a pseudo-PR agency for terrorists|
In the latest example, CBS’s (NYSE: CBS) affiliate in New York published an article about an al-Qaeda magazine’s (we won’t link to it!) push for an attack on the U.S. Open in New York City. It therefore effectively notified every radical and uptight in the area of a high-value target they might never have otherwise considered. The article may have also planted the seed of an idea into the minds of the many mentally ill gun-toters the media and many in government often attempt to scare the public of (but that’s for another story). The report also reminds readers of the al Qaeda magazine’s instructional on how to make and deploy bombs for such targets. Why would you do that?!
And in an ironic statement, the NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says his biggest concern is lone wolves who operate under the radar of the police. Well, guess what, those are the same people who would never have known about this al-Qaeda push if not for these shared statements and promoted articles. Bratton ironically adds, “We will ensure that the suggestions in this magazine remain hypothetical.” That would have been more easily accomplished if prideful people kept their mouths shut instead of drawing 15 minutes of fame for family and friends to admire, or for future political careers. Explain to me how a so-called private briefing for the city’s private security community gets on every newswire globally!
Why would an American media outlet want to do such a thing? It’s for money of course, but not direct payments from terrorists. Rather, media uses dramatic stories to draw eyeballs, clicks and hard copy purchases of content. With the big traffic they generate to their websites or to the local news, a media outlet can draw bigger advertising dollars. So, ironically, American greed from the people who seem to care so much about us when they speak to us every evening at 6 and 11 does Americans in. Thanks a lot say the would-be otherwise unknown websites and lunatics on social media.
Media will say that they’re just reporting the news, and they were in this case. But what role do they have in prodding and pushing public officials into getting onto podiums and before microphones, and how do they get a story like this? Surely, when Rebecca Weiner, the NYPD’s Director of Intelligence Analysis, gave away this important secret, she didn’t intend to do harm. But is it in the interest of sporting enthusiasts or the organizers of the U.S. Open to tell the public that their beloved annual event could threaten their lives? Obviously, every major event in every major metropolitan region offers an opportunity to those who would do us harm. However, it’s one thing to have the police force extra prepared, and another to cause a panic and kill ticket sales.
But media doesn’t care about that does it? No, it only cares about advertising dollars and clicks and eyeballs. And I suppose we do too, since we put it on our news headlines page, which you will note seeks those same eyeballs and clicks. But also take note that our truth-shedding story and blog and website is outing media in this critical case and attempting to shed light on a dangerous habit that has to end before harm comes of it.