Celeb Terrorists: The New Sought-After Sources



The successful operation in Abottabad, Pakistan, in which US special forces landed in Osama bin Laden’s compound on 2 May 2011, ended an ongoing pursuit followed by media audiences the world over since 11 September 2001. To be exact, the hunt had started even earlier, in 1996, with bin Laden’s declaration of conducting Jihad against the ‘Judeo-crusading alliance’. The chase continued with bin Laden’s inclusion in the FBI’s dubious list of ‘most wanted terrorists’ in 1998, following a series of terror attacks in US embassies in East Africa in which hundreds of Africans were murdered and thousands injured. During these years, bin Laden became a well known, intriguing figure, sought by Western armies and journalists alike. Interestingly, whereas it took the American army 16 years to target the mega-terrorist, for journalists, unsurprisingly, it was an easier task. As we show in what follows, while terrorists have to hide from the military forces pursuing them, interacting with the media is of mutual interest, resulting in various versions of hide-and-seek. Thus, alongside the patriotism (widely criticized by media scholars) that characterized most of US and UK media coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the same media organizations have developed new genres of covering terrorists, quite apart from the coverage of terror attacks.


Terror Attack Suicide Bomber Soccer Team York Time Magazine Western Channel 
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Copyright information

© Zohar Kampf and Tamar Liebes 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

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