November 15, 2005

Headline fatigue...

As you probably know, Stephen den Beste is back, doing some blogging at Red State.Org. This is a good point to keep in mind

Stephen Green writes about how the press is the "arm of decision" in the current war. Given the nature of terrorist campaigns, that's definitely true, and in some ways it's clear that our decision makers haven't really dealt with this aspect of the war as well as they probably should have.

But for the terrorists and Islamists, there's a distinct drawback in this kind of war: headline fatigue. Even given that the western press tends to be more sympathetic to the terrorists than to western governments in the war, an ongoing campaign of car bombings in Iraq eventually becomes boring and gets consigned to the rear pages of the newspaper.

That means that the terrorists have to come up with increasingly spectacular escapades in order to maintain the attention of the western press. A couple of years ago the new innovation was video decapitations, but eventually the novelty wore off.

But the other side of the coin of headline fatigue is revulsion. Increasingly spectacular escapades become increasingly vile atrocities. They get the headlines, alright, but repel more people than they attract. This week's bombing in Amman is a good example of that; the reaction to it in Jordan was universally extremely negative on the "Arab Street" and al Qaeda's apparent anonymous-public spokesmen (online) found themselves trying to do spin and damage control...

Also, press, Democrats and "anti-war" activists are allies of al Qaeda, but they are not reliable allies. They could turn their coats at any moment; they only wish to harm Bush and the Republicans. Who knows, even the "pacifists" could turn against slaughter, if the political winds start to blow that way...

Posted by John Weidner at November 15, 2005 9:17 AM
Weblog by John Weidner