Selling Fear: Counterterrorism, the Media, and Public Opinion

Paperback | June 1, 2011

byBrigitte L. Nacos

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While we’ve long known that the strategies of terrorism rely heavily on media coverage of attacks, Selling Fear is the first detailed look at the role played by media in counterterrorism—and the ways that, in the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration manipulated coverage to maintain a climate of fear.

            
Drawing on in-depth analysis of counterterrorism in the years after 9/11—including the issuance of terror alerts and the decision to invade Iraq—the authors present a compelling case that the Bush administration hyped fear, while obscuring civil liberties abuses and concrete issues of preparedness. The media, meanwhile, largely abdicated its watchdog role, choosing to amplify the administration’s message while downplaying issues that might have called the administration’s statements and strategies into question. The book extends through Hurricane Katrina, and the more skeptical coverage that followed, then the first year of the Obama administration, when an increasingly partisan political environment presented the media, and the public, with new problems of reporting and interpretation.

            
Selling Fear is a hard-hitting analysis of the intertwined failures of government and media—and their costs to our nation.

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While we’ve long known that the strategies of terrorism rely heavily on media coverage of attacks, Selling Fear is the first detailed look at the role played by media in counterterrorism—and the ways that, in the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration manipulated coverage to maintain a climate of fear.            Drawing on in-depth ana...

Brigitte L. Nacos is a journalist and adjunct professor of political science at Columbia University. Yaeli Bloch-Elkon isassistant professor of political science and communications at Bar Ilan University, Israel. Robert Y. Shapiro is professor of political science at Columbia University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:June 1, 2011Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226567192

ISBN - 13:9780226567198

Customer Reviews of Selling Fear: Counterterrorism, the Media, and Public Opinion

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments

Chapter 1. The News as Commodity, Public Good, and Political Manipulator
Chapter 2. Selling Fear: The Not So Hidden Persuaders
Chapter 3. Civil Liberties versus National Security
Chapter 4. Selling the Iraq War
Chapter 5. Preventing Attacks against the Homeland
Chapter 6. Preparing for the Next Attack
Chapter 7. Mass-Mediated Politics of Counterterrorism

Postscript. President Obama: Underselling Fear?

Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“[T]here is much to commend in Selling Fear. The book is very important in its careful documentation of the shortcomings of the fourth estate in covering the issue of terrorism post-9/11. The lack of opposition voices among elites and the press enabled the Bush administration to enact policies that threaten the very fabric of American society. The breadth of the content analysis of media coverage and its effects on public opinion will make it the authoritative source on media coverage of 9/11 and its aftermath. Selling Fear will appeal to a broad audience; the writing is clear and accessible, making it a pleasure to read.”