First let us set the record straight: Terrorism is not an Arabic or Islamic word. There was the Irish IRA, the Italian Red Brigades and the German Baader Meinhof to name just a few in Europe. We had our homegrown Tim McVeigh in Oklahoma City and the Unabomber Ted Kaczynskii in Montana. The former used manure to kill more than 160 people and not even one gun (that should give poise to the frenetics in DC gunning for guns as the source of all Evil). The latter may have inspired the Anthrax terrorist who mailed lethal powder instead of bombs.
If everyone of these national and international terrorists was assured of no media coverage whatsoever for their respective deeds, I am convinced they would not have done it or at least thought twice before. Most rush to claim responsibility after their act for the media to publicize it, which never fails.
Remember Al Jazira airing Bin Laden videos after 9/11, especially the first ones where you could see him smiling satisfied barely believing the unexpected luck he had downing the two buildings, great capitalist symbols, with such a low budget operation. He overtly attributed their success to God aiding them against the Infidel. I bet these videos featuring the smurf and content of the thin old man with the beard had a lot to do in inflaming George Bush and bolstering his resolve to kill Osama (and stop those videos). After bombing Torah Bora with a vengeance but unsuccessfully, Bush desperately needed a scape goat. Saddam was eager to oblige him...and the rest is history. Thanks to Al Gore, Al Jazira has now a better foothold in American life. Let's see how they will use it. Tails of two ALs!
When a suicid bomber musters the temerity of going through their deed they must think of the universal attention and recognition they will get at least for a day, thanks to the media, and feel validated by it. This kind of media-driven notoriety undoubtedly motivates at least in part mass murderers like in Fort Hood, Aurora and Sandy Hook.
So what is the media to do? Not cover such an event and risk to be out scooped by ruthless competitors and loose viewership / readership; or cover it thus de facto contributing to spread high and wide the terror effect of this event? The latter may entice and enable terrorists-in-the-making while the former may discourage and dissuade them. Why blow yourself up (or shoot yourself) if nobody will know?
The 24/7 News cycle is an ogre that needs to be fed and unfortunately terrorists have learned to count on that fact. To add insult to injury, violence and bad news are actually good news for the media (and Hollywood) because they sell.
We cherish and defend the Freedom of the Press because it is supposed to protect our freedom but...
Who will protect us from the Press?