Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Terrorism, Coverage of
Todd M. Schaefer
Political violence—especially its two most significant and visible forms, terrorism and political assassination—has arguably been an important journalistic topic since the creation of newspapers. News of the 1865 assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, the first President to die from violence in office, was transmitted within a day from coast to coast by telegraph, and newspapers covered the event and its aftermath for days, though more extensively in some areas of the country than others. While a far cry from the almost instantaneous, worldwide blanket coverage of the September 11, 2001, attacks, it is noteworthy for its time. Given that they are political events intended to send a political message, terrorism and to a lesser extent assassination are loaded terms. There is nevertheless some degree of consensus about each. Terrorism generally refers to violence or threatened violence against civilians to achieve a political or social objective, whereas assassination is the ...