Terrorism and the Media: The Effect of US Television Coverage on Al-Qaeda Attacks
5 June 2017 | Bath
Dr. Michael Jetter, Lecturer of Economics at University of Western Australia, is giving a seminar at Bath’s Department of Economics on Monday 5 June. The abstract of his paper “Terrorism and the Media: The Effect of US Television Coverage on Al-Qaeda Attacks” is below.
Can media coverage of a terrorist organization encourage their execution of further attacks? This paper analyzes the day-to-day news coverage of Al-Qaeda on US television since 9/11 and the group’s terrorist strikes. To isolate causality, Michael uses disaster deaths worldwide as an exogenous variation that crowds out Al-Qaeda coverage in an instrumental variable framework. The results suggest a positive and statistically powerful effect of CNN, NBC, CBS, and Fox News coverage on subsequent Al-Qaeda attacks. This result is robust to a battery of alternative estimations, extensions, and placebo regressions. One minute of Al-Qaeda coverage in a 30-minute news segment causes approximately one attack in the upcoming week, equivalent to 4.9 casualties, on average.