The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stevens wonders whether terrorists are absorbing the worst narratives about their enemies that the media can serve up, thus allowing the killers to justify to themselves their atrocities.
Sensationalism can have terrible consequences, Stevens warns:
But it’s worth wondering why a media that treats nearly every word uttered by the U.S., British or Israeli governments as inherently suspect has proved so consistently credulous when it comes to every dubious or defamatory claim made against those governments. Or, for that matter, why the media has been so intent on magnifying genuine scandals (like Abu Ghraib) to the point that they become the moral equivalent of 9/11. Some caution is in order: Terrorists, of all people, might actually believe what they read in the papers.
I still haven’t found one MSM article pondering whether the New York Times’/Los Angeles Times’ compromise of the Swift program two years ago might have made the task of tracking and discovering the Mumbai terrorists more difficult. It is the sort of question I guess we shouldn’t expect the MSM to ponder.
Perhaps after terrorists strike the U.S. with WMD, media critics will begin to wonder whether the self-anointed guardians of the truth within the MSM were really serving the public’s interest or their own.