Case Study 1: Terrorism and the Media

Case Study 1: Terrorism and the Media

CRJ 440: Terrorism and Antiterrorism


Terrorism, a type of violence that is committed against the law by an individual or a group of people to harm the citizen of the country for their own means of hatred or to prove a point in a political aspect or religion purposes. As we all know, media is used as a means of communication or a type of tool to communicate all over the world to deliver information to the people. The interpretation may be correct, falsified, and even rumored in accordance with how it was perceived (White., 2017).

In this case study, we will evaluate the relationship between terrorism and the media and what roles are applied to each other. The case study will assess the two (2) bombs were set off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15th, 2013. With all the investigation and manhunt, media was there covering all the events live in detail and in this case study it will be described of how the coverage was taken place. Additional, how it affected the public’s perception of the attack, summarize the attack, how the initial investigation was conducted, and how the manhunt was taken place. And the evaluation to what extent the media either helped or hindered the case.

Summarize the attack, the initial investigation, and the manhunt for the suspects:

On April 15th, 2013 there was a bomb explosion where three (3) people killed and two-hundred sixty (260) people were injured at the Boston Marathon. During the initial investigation, they learned that the bombs were made using pressure-cooker at home and each on exploded within seconds at the finish line. This attack has been considered as a terrorist act. It was packed with shrapnel and was carried in backpacks to the Marathon along with the crowds which did not seem as suspicious. There was an intense manhunt to find the suspect’s law enforcement caught tone (1) of the bomber named Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a 19-year-old. As the manhunt continued in search of his brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev who is also a suspect (Ray., 2019).

Describe the media coverage of these events, and assess the degree to which the media affected the public’s perception of the attack.

All news media outlets interrupt regularly scheduled programming to alert everyone immediately to any terrorist events. On the day of April 15th, 2013, the media covered the Boston Marathon bombing which news broadcasts and social media such as (ABC, NBC, CBS, Facebook, Tweeter) exposed the viewers in an extensive and wide ranged manager. As these types of events unfold, media is the main type of source that is used as an aftermath in alerting the community. Although these events are necessary and important to be informed, they can also have a negative impact and affect the public’s perception of the attack. It was an intended and malicious act that was caused by young men not even from the United States who apparently have been plotting this attack a very long time. When the public hears about this only makes it worse to look at the same people from the country as the Tsarnaev brothers that all are the same (Jones, Garfin, Holman, & Silver., 2016).

Evaluate the extent to which the media helped or hindered each of the following:

Asses the importance of the media’s role as a force multiplier for terrorists:

  • The immediate emergency response at the scene of the bombingfirst responders proceeded immediately, and they put of tents near the bombing to help those who are injured extensively that cannot be moved. Citizens raced to help the victims; for example, civilians helped tie and stop the bleeding, hydrated the runners, and much more (Kettl., 2013). The media was there to capture all these people helping and where the hospitals with their medical personnel ready for any disaster.
  • The investigation of the incident – the media stated that the police department was criticized for not providing the necessary security to safeguard the people for such potential threats. Overall, they did do an exceptional job in the investigation and finding the bombers quickly.
  • The manhunt for the suspects – during the manhunt there were a few police officers chasing and tracking the suspects. Despite the lack of security during the Marathon, officers did fight and work very hard to find the suspects and the media made it known the struggle.

The importance of the media’s role as a force multiplier for terrorists is used to make any group of people within the minorities look important, and those are for the main purposes of politics. Technology goes far and reaches many people or all people all over the world, and that is why media falls under the same category as the force multiplier for the terrorists.

Take a position on the debate between the public’s right to know versus operational security:

Given the certain circumstances the public does have the right to know but depending on the situation or event, and the severity of the case. For example, when it comes to a natural disaster or even man-made disaster, the people in immediate danger must actively know so they can run or leave quickly out of danger. When it comes to terrorists’ attack, moving the people by using all security measures by assessing and evaluating the situation. All information must be presented to the team prior to acting only when given to certain circumstances. I believe that all data and outcomes must be readily available to make an executive decision whether or not or when it is appropriate to inform the people, thus causing less chaos and unnecessary fear.


Jones, N. M., Garfin, D. R., Holman, E. A., & Silver, R. C. (2016). Media Use and Exposure to

Graphic Content in the Week Following the Boston Marathon Bombings. American

Journal of Community Psychology58(1–2), 47–59.

Kettl, D. F. (2013). Boston Marathon Bombing Highlights Homeland Security Done Right.

Washington Watch. Retrieved from

Ray, M. (2019). Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Britannica. Retrieved from

White, J. (2017). Terrorism and Homeland Security. Ninth Edition. Cengage Learning.

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