Examining changing American perceptions of the terrorist threat: from the Oklahoma City bombing to Al Qaeda
Persons, Eli U.S.
MetadataShow full item record
The American public's fear of becoming a victim of terrorism significantly increased after 9/11 and remained elevated much longer than one might expect. This thesis explains how and why Americans' perception of the terrorist threat bears little relation to the dangers Americans actually face. Several factors influenced that shift. First, the news media landscape changed dramatically due to structural factors such as increased competition for audience share among traditional news sources, cable news networks, and the Internet. Second, the Internet allowed terrorist organizations, especially Al Qaeda and its affiliates, to propagate threats and messages directly to the public. Third, popular culture, especially film and television drama, affected Americans' stereotypical understanding of terrorism. Finally, politicians and members of the terrorism industry were incentivized after 9/11 to inflate concerns about the terrorism threat. These factors coalesced, reacting with innate human sociological and psychological characteristics, to create a prolonged collective psychosis. This thesis finds that future policies and research focusing on risk communication, counterterrorism economics, and intelligence transparency may be essential to breaking this collective psychosis cycle.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate SchoolCenter for Homeland Defense and Security, 2006-07);July 2006. The July 2006 issue of Homeland Security Affairs offers articles about risk perception, domestic right wing extremist groups, social network analysis, and the impact of foreign policy on homeland security. It ...
Hanle, Donald J. (1987);This thesis examines the proposition that terrorism is a form of war. To do this, this paper first analyzes warfare in terms of what it is and how it functions. This is done by surveying classical military thinkers such ...
Canonico, Peter J. (Monterey California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2004-12);Alternate Military Strategy for the War on Terrorism calls for addressing the war as a global insurgency. Addressing the war on terrorism as a Global Insurgency provides an alternative strategic framework for prosecuting ...