Time for a cover-up

Winston, Brian (2016) Time for a cover-up. British Journalism Review, 27 (2). pp. 5-7. ISSN 0956-4748

29871 The most boring headline imaginable according.pdf
29871 The most boring headline imaginable according.pdf - Whole Document

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The most boring headline imaginable according, supposedly, to Claud Cockburn, is: “Small earthquake in Chile, not many dead.” I want to suggest an update: “Futile jihadi attack in (insert); not many dead.”

For, not to be too Swiftian about this and with all due honour to those who have perished and with deepest of condolences to those who knew and loved them, not many dead is what we have. Since January of last year in Europe there have been, depending how you count, between five and 10 attacks identified as Islamist. The tolls have been 206 murdered and 728 injured (including Paris −37 dead – and Brussels, 35). And you can also number of course, the 224 Russians blown up over Sinai. But that will only get up to the same level as two weeks' slaughter on Europe's roads − 25,000 fatal accidents last year and 1.5million injured to one degree or another of severity. Clearly losing people to violence at this scale all at once is a different matter from accidents and the other hazards of life. But a reign of terror this is not. What we have now is a series of blood-soaked localised riots and freelance, one-off killings by psychopaths with their god on their side. If I were an Isis military emir, I would be telling the lads they needed to try harder. As a threat designed to sap our will, these attacks are a species of awful, horrific, joke.

But in one regard the attacks have been a triumph. Isis's PR emir should be demanding a pay rise, trumpeting his organisation's AVE – advertising value equivalent: how much it would have cost to buy the space these obscenely destructive holy temper tantrums have filled. Because it is only space in our media that is being conquered. And that invasion could be contained on a dime: “Futile attack; not many dead.”

Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P500 Journalism
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (Journalism)
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ID Code:29871
Deposited On:01 Dec 2017 10:02

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