Terror threat

October 18, 2010, 7:52 PM GMT+0

Many of our panellists whom we questioned about the media coverage of the UK terror threat level think that it’s ‘causing more terror than the terrorists’, following reports that parents of Northamptonshire school children are being warned that trips to London may endanger their children’s safety.

Respondents accused the media of ‘scaremongering’, ‘whipping up hysteria’ and ‘blowing things out of proportion’ when asked their opinion on media coverage of threat levels.

  • Many people describe current media coverage as ‘exaggerated’, ‘sensationalist’, ‘panic inducing’ and ‘headline grabbing’.
  • Other respondents branded media reports ‘irresponsible’, and referring to recent media coverage, highlighted that ‘the media haven’t flagged up that the threat level hasn’t changed since January’.
  • One respondent even compared the media’s coverage of terrorism to the character of Emmanuel Goldstein in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, who provided the ruling party with a (possibly fictitious) internal enemy to maintain public support.

However, other respondents think that it is ‘in public interest’ to have a high level of coverage of terrorism threat levels.

  • ‘If there is a genuine threat then it is wise to ask the public to be vigilant,’ commented one respondent.
  • ‘[The media] is doing its job by alerting people on this vital issue,’ seconded another.
  • A few respondents don’t think that the current level of coverage is high enough. ‘Terror levels should be a regular feature, alongside the weather forecast,’ suggested one person.

While a minority of those asked claim to ‘avoid the capital’ because of the terror level, many respondents remain resilient and are determined to ‘carry on as normal’.

  • ‘You can’t live your life in fear, otherwise you won’t get out of bed in the morning,’ advised one respondent.
  • ‘People should be encouraged to go about their daily lives normally, but try to recognise unusual objects or situations,’ suggested another.

Recent media coverage of the terrorism threat includes the revelation that Northamptonshire County Council warned over 10,000 pupils going to London on school trips that they are at risk from terrorist attacks. Newspaper reports stress that the current threat level in the UK stands at ‘severe’, suggesting that an attack is ‘highly likely but not expected imminently’, however most fail to mention that this level of threat has not changed since it was instated in January of this year.

What people are saying about the terror threat coverage

Word cloud courtesy of Wordle.net