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Gender, Age and Religion on Perceptions of Terrorism Within the Media

Info: 17363 words (69 pages) Dissertation
Published: 9th Dec 2019

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Tagged: MediaTerrorism

A definition of terrorism by Schmid and Jongman (1987) cited in Lord Carlisle, 2007:


‘Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets’ (p. 07).





This study was designed to investigate people’s perceptions of terrorism based on the media they accessed. There is a vast number of media available for people to view that can influence how one views a subject; in this case terrorism. Overall there were 114 participants from the local community or university students. Age, gender, religion, the number of media accessed, choice of media and occupation was considered. The study consisted of a within-participants design and used a t-test, one way ANOVA and multiple regression to help with the analysis. Regarding the four hypotheses, hypothesis one which specifically looked at a link between the age of the participants and the media they used was found to have no significance. Hypothesis two looked at gender differences and the media accessed and was also rejected as it was non-significant. In comparison to this both hypothesis three which included ethnicity and religion specifically related to fearfulness and hypothesis four that looked at occupation with regards to media truthfulness and whether they viewed religion negatively, could be partially accepted. From the results, it was concluded that the media impacts on how people view and how they feel regarding terrorism. The study would allow for further in depth research into the effects of the media and the predictors discussed, as well as including new variables that might be deemed relevant and can be conducted via the use of qualitative or quantitative methods.





Title Page…………………………………………..3

Terrorism Definition…………………………………….4























Twenty first century terrorism was altering in the way of communication and how terrorists delivered their messages. What once started as TV news soon developed into social media news; with the use of images and videos to strengthen their purpose (Breckenridge & Zimbardo, 2007). Terrorists were becoming more intelligent, technology was far more advanced and the government had to deal with the media who at times criticised them about how they dealt with a terrorist situation (Schmid & Crelinsten, 1993). Technology has advanced over the past 20 years which enabled terrorists to continue spreading fear and violence more easily, all with a click of a button (Lumbaca & Gray, 2011). By now, the entire World would be aware of the terrorist group who appeared to claim the most airtime post-Al Qaeda, Islamic State (IS). The media’s coverage of terrorism was the vital link between terrorist psychological warfare and their hatred towards the West when specifically discussing Islamic Extremism, which was the most pivotal form of terrorism to affect the UK (Post, 2005). Due to this, many supported the notion of fighting against IS as they posed a threat (Rogers, 2014).

Initially, a general strain theory as proposed by Agnew (2010) suggested that terrorist behaviour was because of a collective strain. These strains can vary in magnitude and range from an “angry God” (Agnew, 2010, p. 138) to a specific nation or state. However, this was debatable as Islamic State “draw on extreme interpretations of Islam” (MI5, 2016) and believed that their leader was a descendent of the prophet Mohammed (Stern, & Berger, 2016).

Each terrorist group somehow facilitated the use of the media (Zinchenko, 2009; Weimann, 2014; Yousof, Hassan, Hassan & Osman, 2013), whether it was for recruiting purposes or to instill fear into the communities to which the media projected, they had a purpose and that purpose was to be known. With regards to this area research has fluctuated over the past decade so it was important to gain concrete information of the relationship between the media and terrorism (Biernatzki, 2002; Slone 2000).

The media were quick to respond when any atrocity occurred and often broadcasted immediately after the attack happened to capture their audiences’ attention. In the UK on the 7th July 2005 four suicide bombers detonated their bombs on the subway and on a nearby bus that left 700 people injured and 52 fatally wounded (Rubin, Brewin, Greenberg, Simpson & Wessely, 2005). The events that followed were chaotic, it unbalanced our social norms and the media were quick to respond. The 7/7 bombings were not necessarily predicted but leaflets were sent out to twenty-five million homes across England in 2004 that informed of possible terrorist attacks (Mythen & Walklate, 2006). As the UK appeared prepared Al-Qaeda took advantage of this situation to see how prepared the public, security services and government really were. In comparison to the 9/11 attacks in America, the distress was lower possibly because of the leaflets that had been dispatched. The US distress was more likely caused by the live coverage of the Twin Tower attacks (Rubin et al., 2005). According to Shoshani & Slone (2008):

“psychological warfare that constitutes the planned use of communications to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes and behaviours of target groups” (p. 628)

is how terrorists work, concentrating specifically on this quote implies that they were aware of their actions, knew exactly what they were doing, why they were doing it and what they were doing it for. They attributed the use of the internet and social media to plan their next attacks. An example of the usage of this form of communication relates to the March 2017 attacks on Westminster, London. The perpetrator of this crime was allegedly “using WhatsApp two minutes before his attack” (Pearse, 2017, p. 01). This in an example of how social media can be used for utilization by terrorists. The fact that this happened and the perpetrator of this atrocity remained unstoppable, in killing four people before being shot dead, is an indication of how the media were more of a hindrance and how the public could be inclined to believe that the media in fact enable terrorism. The media instilled fear or strengthened the terrorist support as can be seen from Lumbaca & Gray’s (2011) previous study into the relationship between the media and terrorism.

The following section reviewed, specifically, biases and prejudices regarding the media coverage of terrorism. Spence, Westerman, Skalski, Seeger & Ulmer (2006) stated “terrorists attempt to stage the most spectacular display possible to attract media coverage” (p. 218) this implied that they completed acts that gained them the attention they wanted and that they manipulated the media, which can be supported by the coverage they received. The media had their own terms also, they wanted to have the largest audience so broadcasted what they thought would be most watched, most spoke about and most shocking: “terrorist incidents tend to crowd out all other news” (Jenkins, 1981, p. 01). In the past, television was the most prominent source of information seeking (Biernatzki, 2002) but since the internet, social media, apps and forums were more widely viewed as “accessible and useful” (Spence et al., 2006, p. 221) and could be easily accessed when on the go. Within the UK, the media and journalists alike have been accused of lying about quotes and being vague about where these were obtained from (Biernatzki, 2002) so were the media completely truthful? The public were manipulated into believing that what was covered in the media was honest and correct regarding an issue or event (Van Dijk, 2006). Personal and societal views also affected what was being said and covered in terms of content, potentially causing social prejudices (De La Corte, 2007; Zinchenko, 2009). The fact the media reported about extremist terrorist attacks and spoke of Islam (Das, Bushman, Bezemer, Kerkhof & Vermeulen, 2009; Nacos, 2006) as the source of terrorism, could have had detrimental effects on those who had the same religious beliefs. This left a potential for Islamophobia and Muslims being associated with members of IS. “Public perceptions are imperfect” were the words of Jenkins (1981, p. 04), this was true to the extent that we perceived actions and created our own biases within reality. On the contrary, in a virtual world (internet, social media, TV) these perceptions were affected by the biases of those within the virtual context. Journalists ultimately lead to people’s social prejudices towards outgroups (e.g. Muslims).

Social Identity theory could be used to explain people’s perceptions of terrorism. It started by viewing society as two groups: the ingroup versus the outgroup. The outgroup would be those who felt ostracized and the ingroup would be those who viewed the medias literature; who then gained a prejudiced view of the outgroup (McDermott & Zimbardo, 2007). If the outgroup was perceived as “encroaching on the ingroup’s physical or psychological territory” (Schwartz, Dunkel & Waterman, 2009, p. 542) then the outgroup would be deemed as less socially acceptable. As the media reported about current affairs regarding terrorism, in 2002; 67% of Muslim’s in America felt as though the media were more biased post the 9/11 attacks (Powell, 2011). Those within the ingroup concentrated specifically on their own group and did not include those from the opposing group as they appeared to be the same ethnicity as those who committed the attacks. The current conflict between Islamic extremism and the West was fundamentally based on ideology and identity. If members of a group; mainly the minority group were discriminated against and disrespected they would stand against their oppressor. Those feelings would reinforce the dehumanization process. The outgroup, being vulnerable had more respect for attacks directed at the oppressing group. Just as the 2015 ICM research by channel 4 found: 100,000 British Muslims sympathized with suicide bombers and people who committed terrorist acts (Kern, 2016). Terrorists had got smart; they used less conspicuous people to commit some of their most dangerous attacks. Those people happened to be women and made up around 20%-30% of both international and domestic terrorist groups (Nacos, 2005). Some of the most wanted terrorist suspects in the world were female, the White Widow being one of them. Samantha Lewthwaite (White Widow) was widowed as her husband was a 7/7 bomber. She was the most wanted female terrorist suspect, who originated from the UK, with links to Al-Shabaab and believed to be the mastermind of over 400 murders (Robinson, 2016). Terrorist groups could use social prejudices, such as women being seen as maternal and compassionate, which would have impacted on the public’s overall view. This brought around the idea of Social Identity theory, in a Westernised world, women were viewed as maternal caregivers and if the terrorists were aware of those ‘labels’, they would use them to their own advantage, as they would not normally fit the “terrorist profile” (Nacos, 2005, p. 435).

Considering recent events in France, Britain felt the effect and it was found that news broadcasts of terrorism were a reason for the increase in prejudice, more so if those attacks were “psychologically or physically close” (Das et al., 2009, p. 04). Abrams, Vyver, Houston & Vasiljevic (2017) found that prejudice against Muslims increased after the London bombings which could be related to Social Dominance theory. This theory looked at prejudism and concentrated on the people who either accepted or rejected societal ideologies (Hogg & Vaughan, 2005). It could also be linked to Social Identity theory in the sense that there was a dominant group who had a strong social dominance orientation. The stronger their social dominance orientation the more prejudiced they were and so they would be more inclined to accept incorrect ideologies. There was a poor understanding of the true Islamist beliefs which due to the accessibility of the media, underpinned prejudice (Eriksson, 2016). The media were specific in the way they talked about an event. Looking at the media portrayal of the attackers in France, they named them, linked them and reported information that was irrelevant to the coverage: “had Egyptian and Syrian passports” (Gunter, Lukov, Poole, Harrison & Pender, 2015, p. 01). The blatant use of this phrase indicated that public’s perception of terrorism was influenced by the way the events were covered. In 1978, 85% of the UK viewed terrorism as a very serious problem (Cooper, 1976) because at the time the Irish Republican Army were prominent. In 2014, it was believed that the terrorist threat to the UK had increased in the past year by 59% (Rogers, 2014). In contrast to this and due to the uncertainty of the events that took place in the Middle East, it was discovered that 68% agreed that Islamic State posed a threat to the UK (Dahlgreen, 2014). In 2015, a survey was conducted and it revealed that 25% had a positive view of Islam and 61% a negative view, largely due to the media coverage of Islamic extremism (Eriksson, 2016). How those new forms of terrorism were depicted and discussed had affected public opinion. Not only did this allow for fear towards outgroups, thus linking with Social Identity theory (as discussed terrorism media projects to outgroups, for example: Muslims and IS) but it also allowed for a loss of trust in public-state relations. The media within the UK posted about terrorism regularly and focused on the refugees fleeing Syria in the same context (Kavoori, & Fraley, 2006). In past studies age, race and gender were found to be correlated with fear of terrorism, with significant results for gender and race, as females and minority groups were more fearful. Older people were found to be less worried regarding a possible terrorist attack (Nellis, & Savage, 2012).

Social Cognitive theory of mass communication (Bandura, 2001) looked at how communication influenced the thoughts and actions of other people. Symbols and words were used to give meaning to one’s experiences (Ross, 2007; Bandura, 2001). The more media a person watched, the bigger the influence on that view, as discussed previously the idea of all Muslims being members of the Islamic State. Terrorists pursued activities for their own ends, they did not avoid or minimize the harm they intended to inflict on others and took the credit for the attack which would be the top story in the media. They tended to blame those who they felt “deserved retribution” (Borum, 2004, p. 51) such as the UK and USA. The media coverage of the Iraq War ended in disaster as incorrect information was broadcasted. It was believed that Saddam Hussein kept weapons of mass destruction but upon inspection, nothing was ever found (Kavoori, & Fraley, 2006). The media manipulated the public into believing incorrect information, due to what their source had told them (Biernatzki, 2002), to produce a better and more interesting story. This can be linked with Social Learning theory as the media were teaching us about the events that were happening globally, which ultimately affected how people viewed Muslim’s with regards to the coverage of IS.

Social Learning theory proposed that you learnt specific behaviours through observation (Victoroff, 2005). As the public observed the news media, they had to have the ability to be able to cypher between truth and fiction (Biernatzki, 2002; Papacharissi & Oliveira, 2008). The public were merely learning about events from the media, so as fictional media could be broadcasted, via the use of observation they should depict what they perceived to be the truth from the lies. Linking this idea to terrorism allowed for their views to be distorted in terms of the way they saw Muslims. Concentrating on the headlines of recent events in Westminster, it was reported that IS had claimed the attack was committed by a follower of their group (Sky News, 2017); it was soon discovered, based on terrorist experts, IS were not involved and only claimed involvement due to the casualties they had suffered in Iraq (Dearden, 2017). This proved the use of presumptive language impacted on the public, who created negative views towards individuals of that faith. What started out as positive images on the media turned into negative ones and so it depended on the individual regarding their own interpretation (Kellner, 2006).

Symbolic Communication Theory (Weimann, 2004) suggested that terrorism could be analysed like any other communication and consisted of 4 parts: transmitter, intended recipient, message and feedback. A recent event that took place in France was an example of how this theory worked. In July 2016, 2 armed men (transmitter) entered a church in Northern France where they took the Father and 4 others hostage (intended recipient) before killing the Father (message) (BBC, 2016). Of course, it gained media attention so the terrorists received the feedback they required, the feedback being the reaction to the incident. The intended message was that even in a place of worship, no-one was safe. Another example was from a twitter feed from one of Islamic State’s fighters. They used a photo (transmitter) of how they charged their mobile devices and shared it on their twitter feed, to be seen by their followers (intended recipient) as well as the security services. The intended message was that they had electric and would use whatever means necessary to be known. They had the chance at gaining more followers and projected fear to the countries they attacked, merely because they could prove they had the intelligence to complete anything they set their minds to (feedback) (Klausen, 2015). Governments tried to limit and censor any websites and social media that terrorists used. Klausen (2015) stated that a UK based account was the most accessed, terrorists were everywhere, it strengthened the terrorists support for sleeper cells and lone wolves who claimed allegiance to a terrorist fraction or who waited for their order to attack. The internet, especially the dark web, made it extremely difficult for the Government to censor and remove terrorist activity. The terrorists fed off social media, it was the place where they could project their propaganda. For years’ terrorists relied on the TV news but now social media had changed the dynamic completely, allowing for them to report whatever they felt necessary for their cause (Klausen, 2015). Regarding how terrorist material should be dealt with has caused a lot of controversy over the years. As the UK was viewed as a democracy one valued area was free speech, any government intervention was disapproved even if it was a safer option. As consumers, we cried for entertainment and that is exactly what terrorism provided (Ross, 2007; Shoshani & Slone, 2008). Rather than removing terrorism from the media (viewed as clamping down on free speech) completely; they censored terrorist acts and their assailants’ so only the official, censored information could be broadcasted (Weimann, 2008).

Overall, based on the literature reviewed there was evidence found that suggested this symbiosis between terrorism and the media:

“terrorism requires the participation of the media, as the media rely on terrorist acts to provide much of the sensationalism” (Biernatzki, 2002, p. 21)

the media were therefore provided with a larger audience, more publicity and more money. In some respects, terrorists would not be known if it was not for the media who portrayed it over every TV screen, in every newspaper, on every computer monitor and across radio stations worldwide. Taking that into consideration, it would be of interest to know people’s thoughts on the media portrayal of terrorism, whether they did work in conjunction with each other, whether they created this scaremongering of religion and how the media affected people’s levels of being targeted. It was also discovered that the media were not always truthful with what they were talking about, sometimes pulling information from thin air, which lead to the British public’s lack of trust in the media (Biernatzki, 2002).

The main paper associated with the current study was gender and age effects on information-seeking after 9/11. Based on data collected from 3 different cities in America they obtained 1329 questionnaires, 656 females and 641 males. The usefulness of media was looked at along with the scope of the damage, cause, implications, other threats, any cancellations, reassuring information from both political and religious leaders. They were reported by using a 1 to 5 scale- 1=not useful and 5=useful. The analysis used was a multiple regression and it was discovered that females thought that the TV was more useful than males. While males thought that the internet was more useful. (Spence et al, 2006).

The previous study set the scene for the current study. As there was little to no data based on a UK sample it was important to see if there were any differences in how the participants perceived terrorism and whether that perception was affected by the media they accessed. Due to societal differences of the samples and questionnaires there were bound to be variances of the people used, types of media they used and the questions asked, which was conferred in the discussion.

The present study was designed to see if people’s perceptions of terrorism were influenced by the media they accessed. According to the theories discussed media does impact on how the public perceive terrorism. The main theories that suggested a definite link were Social Cognitive theory of mass communication and Social Learning theory which suggested that the media in some form of another influenced the public’s overall perceptions of terrorism, specifically related to Islamic Extremism and how they viewed people of this faith. There was minimal literature within the UK that solely focused on UK citizens. Previous research has found a symbolic relationship between terrorism and the media, terrorists used the media for their own agenda’s just as the media used terrorism, it has evolved into mass entertainment (Cooper, 1976) for everyone to watch and listen to. Gender and age have been looked at previously (Spence et al, 2006) mainly in an American based sample; this study aimed to use these as well as religion and occupation to some extent to see if there is a link between the media used and perceptions of terrorism. The current study had 4 research questions. The first was: Does the media influence people’s perceptions of terrorism? This was the main research question relating to this topic area and was the most important to see if there were differences in the media accessed and whether this impacted on their views. The second research question focused on age as a factor in formulating perceptions of terrorism as highlighted in the media. The rationale regarding this question was to understand if people of different ages have a different outlook on their overall perceptions of terrorism. Are there gender differences regarding perceptions of terrorism and the media accessed was the third question as it was essential to see if females thought differently to men regarding their perceptions and to see if much has changed in terms of the media accessed since Spence et al’s study. Finally, the last research question was focusing on religion and whether it played a role in the public’s understanding of terrorism based on what the media state. As there is a lot of prejudice regarding religion, this question was devised to see if there were any differences in people’s religion and whether this impacted on how they felt regarding terrorism. The rationale behind the conclusion of these research questions was based on previous literature. As there was not enough concrete information regarding the medias influence it was important to see how the public were impacted by the coverage. It was also deemed important to conduct this study in the UK as there was minimal research into this topic area.

Hypothesis one predicted that age would have an impact on the type of media utilized by the participants; such as those over 50 would use traditional types of media (TV, newspapers and radio) and those under 40 would access non-traditional types (internet, apps and social media). It was proposed that those over 50 would access traditional media as that was what was available to them when they were younger and so, those under 40 would use non-traditional media as it was becoming more prominent around this generation.

Considering hypothesis two; males view of terrorism would be different in comparison to females due to the number of media that they accessed (one type, two types, three types etc.). The reason for this was because as suggested by Ross (2007) and Bandura (2001) the more media watched the bigger the influence on their views, so this study aimed to see if that was the case. Males would be more likely to use both traditional and non-traditional media whereas females would more likely use traditional media.

Hypothesis three proposed that those with a religion would feel more threatened due to how terrorism was portrayed in the media and those non-religious would believe that religion is the cause of terrorism. Those with an Asian ethnicity would feel more fearful. According to the Office for National Statistics (2011) those with an Asian ethnicity were more inclined to have a Muslim religion and as the media have a poor understanding of Islamist values explained why this prediction was made.

As mentioned there would be some emphasis on occupation so it was predicted that those who were retired would have a negative view towards religion and believed what the media said. The rationale behind the prediction was as they had the media when they were younger, such as coverage of the war on the radio, they would be more inclined to believe what the media stated. Regarding the negative view towards terrorism this was predicted as attending church was compulsory and not a choice, so this could have impacted on how they viewed religion. Whereas, employed and students would not believe what the media said and would not blame religion as a cause of terrorism. Those who were unemployed would project no biases and have neutral scores on the scale.


The aim of this study was to receive 100 completed questionnaires that represented the range of the chosen target population, which in this case was both students and members of the public from varying communities. The target number was obtained as a minimal requirement for this study.


Full university ethical approval was obtained from the University of Bolton ethics committee to undertake this research. The study used an approach known as within-participants design to gather the relevant data. Questionnaires were used and handed to each participant, they were asked focussed questions with each question displaying a different use of language and emphasis on different issues regarding terrorism perceptions. Each participant was required to complete each question for the analysis to be effective. The independent variables that were being looked at were: age, gender, religion, ethnicity, choice of media, number of media accessed with some emphasis on occupation and the study focused on people’s perceptions of terrorism (dependent variable). The questionnaire was administered via either face-to-face interactions or by the post, in which case respondents were given a stamped self-addressed envelope to return their completed questionnaire. All responses were anonymised. The time frame for them to complete the questionnaire was four to six weeks from the 17th October 2016.


The combined total of the participants was 114 overall with 83 females and 31 males. The age ranged from 18-83 with a mean age of 33. Those who participated were either University of Bolton students or from the local community in Blackpool and others in Bristol. The number of students was 74 and those who were non-students was 40. The mean choice of media accessed by the participants was both (traditional and non-traditional) and the mean number of media accessed was three types. Being British was the mean for ethnicity and having no beliefs was the mean for religion. They were recruited via the use of an opportunity sample and were asked to participate once they had been informed of what was required of them. If they felt uncomfortable completing the questionnaire they had the option to refuse to participate as it was voluntary.  Age was collected so it could be determined which group they would fit into when the analysis was conducted. It was essential that the participants were over the age of 18 due to the sensitive nature of this study and it was required that the University of Bolton Ethics committee had given ethical approval before the study could be conducted.


The questionnaire that was used contained 16 items that asked participants about their use of media and attitudes towards terrorism. The questionnaire was devised over a period of six weeks by linking the questions asked with the research questions to ensure the maximum range of answers could be obtained. An example of the questions used ranged from: the media portray all attacks as being terrorismto “it is all propaganda; the media do not show true Islamist values.” (Please see Appendix A for the questionnaire and thus the rest of the questions and the range of possible answers.)


Full informed consent was obtained from all respondents, each participant was given an instruction and information sheet. These were the same for both students and non-students (see Appendix A). For the student participants, they were accessed via having permission from their lecturer to attend their class and for the first half an hour they were allowed to complete the questionnaires for this study. They were asked to take part but were told that it was voluntary so they did not have to answer the questionnaire if they did not want to. When asking for participants it was important to ensure that all those who chose to take part were over the age of 18. The participants were handed the questionnaire and had thirty minutes to complete it, after this time frame any that were not fully completed were destroyed. Once they were completed they were collected and kept for the analysis.

When collecting participants from further afield, it was important that the questionnaires were sent to them providing a pre-paid envelope for them to return it back, completed or not. The participants completed the questionnaire within their own homes. Inside was a cover sheet explaining what was required of them and that it was completely voluntary. They were also informed that they had four to six weeks to return it. Once the deadline was up, any that returned past this date were destroyed.














The descriptive statistics were analysed first regarding the independent variables (see pgs.17-18). For the purpose of this study both a one-way ANOVA and independent t-test were conducted. To calculate certain aspects of the results it was important that the number of media accessed and choice of media were coded. The one-way ANOVA was used for the predictors that contained larger groups: occupation, number of media accessed, choice of media (traditional, non-traditional or both) and ethnicity, some questions were omitted from the analysis as they were non-significant for all variables. Once these preliminary analyses were concluded a multiple regression was done.

To answer research question one, a one-way ANOVA was conducted to look and see if the media used did effect their perceptions of terrorism. To analyse this, all questions from the questionnaire were used as DV’s while the number of media accessed was used as an IV, to look for significant results which would have suggested a link between the number of media accessed and perceptions of terrorism. However, three types of media accessed (see table 1) and both traditional and non-traditional media were most commonly used (see table 1.1). Looking at the choice of media people accessed and age it was discovered that there was a significance, F (2,111) = 10.2, p<.001 when choice of media was used as a dependent variable in conjunction with age as an IV. To gain these results age was grouped into under 40, 40-50 and over 50 which significantly impacted on the choice of media.

Table 1: The number of media accessed the most by the participants

Frequency Percent
One media 9.00 7.90
Two media 27.00 23.70
Three media 36.00 31.60
Four media 20.00 17.50
Five media 14.00 12.30
Six media 8.00 7.00

Table 1 shows how much media was accessed the most by the participants. From this table, it can be established that three types of media was the most common.

Table 1.1: Most commonly used choice of media by the participants

Choice of media
Frequency Percent
Traditional 21.00 18.40
Non-traditional 15.00 13.20
Both 78.00 68.40

Table 1.1 shows the most commonly accessed form of media and the percentage of the participants for each one. It can be identified that both is the most accessed.

Relating this to hypothesis one and concentrating on the means it was found that those over 50 accessed non-traditional forms of media rather than traditional as previously thought, yet, those who were under 40 used both forms of media rather than non-traditional as previously predicted (see table 1.2). Participants who accessed both forms of media agreed that the media was all propaganda, F (2,111) – 5.0, p=.001 (see table 1.3).

Table 1.2: The effects of age on the choice of media accessed

Choice of media
Years Mean Std. Deviation
40 and under 2.68 0.61
50 and over 1.85 0.99
40 to 50 2.43 0.94

Note: For the mean answers, the choice of media was coded as: Traditional-1, non-traditional-2 and both-3.

Table 1.2 shows the average choice of media accessed by age. In this case those 40 and under preferred to use both forms of media.

Table 1.3: The effects choice of media had on propaganda

Choice of media Mean N Std. Deviation
Traditional 2.52 21 1.030
Non-traditional 3.47 15 1.125
Both 3.56 78 1.158

Table 1.3 shows that participants who accessed both types of media had the highest mean for the media as propaganda.

Research question two concentrated on age as well but this time focusing on their perceptions of terrorism. Using an independent t-test age was set with a cut-off point of 24 as this was the median age of the participants. It was found that those under 24 were significant for agreeing that the media was all propaganda, t (112) = -3.7, p<.001 (see table 2).

Table 2: The mean score for propaganda by age using a cut-off point of 24

Years N Mean Std. Deviation
    Propaganda > 24 57 2.96 1.18
< 24 57 3.75 1.07

Table 2 shows that those under 24 had the highest mean with regards to the media as propaganda.

With regards to research question three which solely concentrated on gender differences, females agreed that the media was all propaganda, t (112) = 2.0, p<.001 (see table 3).

Table 3: The highest mean for propaganda in regard to gender differences.

Gender Mean N Std. Deviation
Female 3.63 83 1.04
Male 2.65 31 1.28

Table 3 shows that females scored the highest for seeing the media as propaganda.

Concentrating on hypothesis two there were differences between females and males in terms of their choice of media. Males were more inclined to use non-traditional media; whereas females accessed both types of media, going against the original prediction. The number of media accessed by both males and females was equal (see table 3.1).

Table 3.1: Gender differences regarding the usage of media

Gender Choice of Media (Traditional, non-traditional or both) Number of Media accessed (one type, two types, three types, etc.)
Female Mean 2.58 3.23
N 83 83
Std. Deviation 0.74 1.33
Male Mean 2.29 3.26
N 31 31
Std. Deviation 0.90 1.41

Note: For the mean answers, the choice of media was coded as: Traditional-1, non-traditional-2 and both-3. The same was done for the number of media accessed: one type-1, two types-2, three types-3, four types-4, five types-5 and six types-6.

Table 3.1 shows gender differences for the media accessed. From this it can be established that females accessed both types of media. Whereas males used non-traditional types of media. There were no differences regarding the number of media accessed.

In relation to research question four both religion and ethnicity played a role with fear and people’s perceptions. Ethnicity was a significant predictor concerning fear (see table 4), as those who were from an Asian culture were more fearful of being targeted due to their religious beliefs, F (2,111) = 13.7, p<.001, this strengthened hypothesis three. There was a significant difference between religion and no religion regarding fear (see table 4.1) of being targeted due to their belief, t (112) = -3.4, p=.001. Again, this linked with hypothesis three but those who were non-religious did not blame religion as the source of terrorism unlike previously thought.

Table 4: The highest ethnicity when looking at fear


Ethnicity Mean N Std. Deviation
British 1.95 98 0.84
European 3.00 3 2.00
Asian 3.31 13 1.25

Table 4 shows that when concentrating on fear Asians on average were more fearful.

Table 4.1: The highest religion when looking at fear


Religion Mean N Std. Deviation
No religion 1.89 70 0.80
Religious 2.52 44 1.21

Table 4.1 shows that those who had a religion on average were more fearful.

As already mentioned occupation was going to be included and related to hypothesis four. Those employed believed that the media portrayal of terrorism was truthful, F (3,110) = 6.3, p=.001 (see table5). This is the opposite to hypothesis four as it was proposed that retired people would believe that the media were truthful. Students were inclined to believe that the media portrayed all attacks as being terrorism, F (3,110) = 6.4, p<.001 (see table 5.1), as well as the media being propaganda, F (3,110) = 12.0, p<.001 (see table 5.2). Occupation as a whole was non-significant for Islam being linked with terrorism, though, those retired had the highest mean (m=3.85). Although the overall model for propaganda was non-significant, employed people had the highest mean (m=2.43).

Table 5: The highest average based on occupation when looking at truthfulness of the media

Occupation Mean N Std. Deviation
Unemployed 2.25 4 0.50
Retired 2.54 13 1.27
Employed 2.91 23 1.00
Student 2.00 74 0.83

Table 5 shows that those who were employed were on average more likely to believe that what the media said was truthful.




Table 5.1: the highest average of occupation regarding the portrayal of all attacks as terrorism within the media


Occupation Mean N Std. Deviation
Unemployed 3.00 4 1.155
Retired 2.69 13 1.109
Employed 2.74 23 1.010
Student 3.64 74 1.028

Table 5.1 shows that those who were students believed that the media portrayed all attacks as being terrorism.

Table 5.2: The highest average for viewing the media as propaganda when looking at occupation


Occupation Mean N Std. Deviation
Unemployed 3.50 4 0.58
Retired 2.62 13 0.96
Employed 2.43 23 1.04
Student 3.77 74 1.08

Table 5.2 shows that students are on average more likely to see the media as propaganda, whereas employed are more inclined to not view it as propaganda.

Multiple Regression

Multiple regressions were conducted to see if when the variables were grouped whether they were significant regarding perceptions of terrorism and to back-up what has already been discussed. As some of the questions proved non-significant only those that were significant would be reported as those that were not were omitted from the analysis.

Age, occupation and choice of media were found to be significant with regards to the media portraying all attacks as being terrorism, F (3,110) = 5.8, p=.001. The R2 value was 13.6 (.136) while the adjusted R value was 11.3% (.113). The beta-weights were: choice of media (0.164), occupation (0.178) and age (-0.107). Looking at the variables independently shows no significance in terms of the individual predictors.

Table 6: The effects of age, occupation and choice of media on the media portraying all attacks as being terrorism


                     Model Beta t Sig.
(Constant) 2.394 .018
Choice of media .164 1.668 .098
Occupation .178 1.314 .192
Years -.107 -.786 .434
a. Dependent Variable: Portraying all attacks as being terrorism

Table 6 shows the variables as independents and the effect it had on portraying all attacks as being terrorism. Each predictor had a relative weighting regarding the dependent variable but neither of the predictors when viewed independently were significant for portraying all attacks as being terrorism.

Ethnicity and religion were significantly related to fear of terrorism because of their religion, F (2,111) = 12.9, p<.001. The R2 value was (.218) 21.8% while the adjusted R value equalled (.203) 20.3%. The beta-weights were: ethnicity (0.218) and for religion (0.189). Ethnicity was the most significant predictor for fear p<.001 (see table 6).

                      Model Beta t Sig.
(Constant) 3.926 .000
Ethnicity .372 4.219 .000
Religion .189 2.143 .034

Table 7: The effects of ethnicity and religion on fear due to beliefs using a multiple regression

a. Dependent Variable: Fear due to beliefs

Table 7 shows each variables effect when viewed independently on fear due to their religion. Each predictor had a relative weighting regarding the dependent variable and both variables found to impact on fear due to beliefs significantly but ethnicity was the most significant when looked at independently.

Age, gender, occupation and choice of media were significant for the media as propaganda, F (4,109) = 10.0, p<.001. The R2 value was (.249) 24.9% and the adjusted (.221) 22.1%. The beta-weights for the variables were: age (-.162), gender (-.265), occupation (.100) and choice of media (.167). Overall, gender was the highest predictor for propaganda p<.005 (see table 8).

Table 8: The effects of age, gender, occupation and choice of media on propaganda using a multiple regression.

Model Beta t Sig.
(Constant) 3.764 .000
Years -.162 -1.233 .220
Gender -.265 -3.005 .003
Occupation .100 .786 .434
Traditional or Non-traditional .167 1.811 .073

a. Dependent Variable: Propaganda

Table 8 shows how propaganda was affected by the variables when they were looked at independently. Each predictor had a relative weighting regarding the dependent variable and only gender was found to significantly impacted on truthfulness


There was enough evidence to provide clear answers for the research questions. To begin with, research question one focused specifically on the media impact on people’s views towards terrorism. In respect to the findings the number of media accessed made no contribution but the choice of media they used did. Overall, it was found that both types of media were more common (see table 1.1). Those who accessed both forms of media were significant with the media as propaganda (see table 1.3).

Hypothesis one predicted that age would impact on the media used, this was found to be non-significant. When age was grouped those over 50 preferred to use non-traditional media, the possible explanation for why this occurred was because non-traditional forms of media were more popular now, so people of all ages were becoming accustomed to it. For those 40 and under; the use of both forms of media was more prominent (see table 1.2), this could be explained by Spence et al’s (2006) idea of accessing whatever is available to them at the time. This can be linked with the second research question which focused on age as a factor and its implications on their views towards terrorism. Viewing age in terms of under 24 was significant with agreeing that the media was propaganda (see table 2).

Gender was included in research question three and was solely concentrating on differences towards their views. It was found that females were more likely to view the media as being propaganda (see table 3). Regarding gender differences and the choice of media females were inclined to use both forms of media, whereas males used non-traditional. Based on the findings of this study the number of media watched did not contribute to the findings and did not affect their perceptions of terrorism, so contrasts what Ross (2007 and Bandura (2001) stated. Linking these findings to hypothesis two means that it was found to be non-significant as there were no differences in the number of media accessed but females were more inclined to use both forms of media, whereas males used non-traditional (see table 3.1).

Research question four looked at religion on people’s understanding of terrorism. This was found to be a huge factor, as discussed, they felt fearful regarding potential terrorist attacks due to their beliefs. Ethnicity was included and those who were Asian were more fearful due to their religion, so having a religion was associated with being more fearful (see table 4). Thus, linking to hypothesis three which can only be half accepted as those who were non-religious did not blame religion for the cause of terrorism but Asians were more fearful of terrorist attacks like first proposed. This backs up the research conducted by the Office of National Statistics (2011) which discovered that those who had an Asian ethnicity were more inclined to feel fearful allowing a link to be made between this ethnicity and Muslim faith.

Finally, hypothesis four was based on occupation and this hypothesis could be partially accepted due to the results that were discovered. Employed people believed that the media were truthful (see table 5) this could be because they have not got the time needed to process the information sufficiently. Students agreed that the media portrayed all attacks as being terrorism (see table 5.1) and that it was all propaganda (see table 5.2). The reason for these answers was because they potentially viewed the media as sensationalism, in the sense that terrorism is emphasised. Again, it also provided an expalnation for propganagda as it was over emphasised and so they chose to not believe it. Although there was no significance between retired people and linking terrorism with Islam, they did produce the highest mean.

As retired people scored highest for linking terrorism with Islam it supported the notion that the media influenced their views on the subject and as they report terrorism and Islam in the same context (Das et al, 2009; Nacos, 2006) they created this prejudice against them leading to Islamophobia. The bias itself may have no proven significance but regarding the means; the hypothesis can be partialy accepted due to this outcome. The fact they linked terrorism with Islam more so compared to employed, students and unemployed people suggested that they do hold a negative view towards religion. The reason as to why retired people were more prejudice could be because they spend a lot of time reading, watching or listening to the media, more so than employed people or students. In contrast to these findings, employed people had the lowest mean for propaganda and they agreed that the media did show true Islamist values. Employed people viewed what the media were saying as being truthful and students agreed that the media portrayed all attacks as being terrorism, they also linked the media and propaganda. In contrast to these findings, employed people had the lowest mean for propaganda and they agreed that the media did show true Islamist values. Again, employed people held biases regarding their views on terrorism and Islam. This strengthened the evidence for them believing the media. If they did not believe it, then they would have agreed with the media as portraying Islamist values incorrectly.

The study looked at age, gender, ethnicity, religion, number of media accessed, choice of media and occupation in regard to people’s perceptions of terrorism. The main findings discussed, suggested that there were some strong differences and significant results. From the ANOVA analysis: occupation, choice of media and ethnicity were strongly linked to effecting people’s views on terrorism. While, based on the t-test analysis; age, gender and religion also significantly impacted on people’s views on terrorism.

The regression analysis focused on certain aspects of the questionnaire with the variables being grouped. Gender, occupation and choice of media significantly affected whether they viewed the media as being truthful about terrorism. Occupation and choice of media were significant for the perceived threat towards the UK. Age, occupation and choice of media impacted on their views towards all attacks as being terrorism, adding age to the variable list made a significant result for propaganda as well. Gender and age was significant for linking Islam with terrorism and finally, ethnicity and religion were significant predictors for fear due to their beliefs.

People attempt to find out the latest information by using any form of media they can access and there are generational differences in terms of what appears most attractive (Spence et al, 2006; Weimann, 2008). In comparison to the media access of this study to the study conducted by Biernatzki in 2002 it discovered that TV sets the agenda for all other forms of media, this might be the case but regarding the participant’s choices, as long as they had access to the news they did not worry about where it originated from. Linking the findings to Spence et al’s (2006) study both males and females used the same form of media. There were many reasons for this difference. To begin with, since their study, media became more prominent in terms of both TV and internet. Not only this but women and men can live the same form of life in terms of having a career so would access the media via the use of similar methods. Also, regarding the limitations of this study, there were less participants so perhaps if more participants were used in this study similar results would have been obtained. The number of media one accessed was not necessarily a good thing, media had grown over the decades at a rapid rate; making it easier for people to be aware of what was going on around the world. Thus, becoming more of a problem rather than a solution as first believed (Cooper, 1976). Terrorists had their own media networks, they had the ability to communicate via social media (Weimann, 2014) with each other and potential new recruits, so if the media accessed by the public was reduced it would in fact make problems much worse. It has been established that the media influences people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, whether that be either positively or negatively (Slone, 2000) which was in line with the current study’s findings as the media effected peoples overall view of a subject (Bandura, 2001) in this case terrorism. Looking back at previous media coverage of disasters and wars, Samuels discussed a common phrase used: “the Vietnam effect” (cited in: Biernatzki, 2002). This suggested that the Vietnam war was lost due to the media coverage of the events. If this was the case, the coverage of the troubles out in the Middle-East and the refugee crisis should not be covered throughout media outlets, as there was a potential for damaging effects, such as; the media discussing terrorists and religion in the same context (Das et al, 2009; Nacos, 2006). The issue with this was that the public can gain a prejudiced opinion regarding both the refugees coming from the Middle East; who appear to be of an Islamic faith and those within a Westernized society who had the same beliefs (Das et al, 2009; Nacos, 2006). Not only this but the media coverage of terrorism was found to significantly impact on how the audience felt regarding the coverage of a terrorist attack (Shoshani & Slone, 2008). The fact the media show these events and are believed, explained why the participants felt fearful. Viewing terrorism as a whole was a major threat to our way of life (Rogers, 2014) which strengthens the support for those who felt fearful.

There was a fear element within the current study and could be linked with the fear literature regarding terrorism. Symbolic Communication theory (Bandura, 2001) to begin with consisted of four parts, if the focus was put on the feedback part it supported the findings of this study as there was fear regarding terrorism, so when the media showed these attacks they were giving the terrorists what they wanted and that was to be feared. Fear itself can be a reaction for a number of various reasons; such as, the media (Lumbaca & Gray, 2011; Powell, 2011; Nellis & Savage, 2012). How people view terrorism was effected by the media they accessed, it played a role in the terrorist event (Cooper, 1976), making it more realistic as it was happening at that point in time, for example; the coverage of the 9/11 attacks. Whenever you turn on a TV or log onto a computer, terrorists ultimately dominated the headlines (Jenkins, 1981). The fact they got so much coverage explains why people were so fearful of an attack, not only this but radicalization could be helped via the showing of these atrocities. If the media showed what the countries were doing to end a specific terrorist fraction, those who sympathised with that group could feel more hatred towards the government, leading to attacks in that country. Slone in 2000 explained how the emotional impact of media coverage was unknown. This statement had been updated, as it had been discovered in this current study that there was a large emphasis on being fearful in terms of the media. In past studies age, religion and gender were used to explain fear and anxiety (Slone, 2000; Nellis & Savage, 2012) but now ethnicity also explains the fear element towards the media as ethnic minorities were found to be more fearful. Based on the research conducted by Rogers (2014) and Dahlgreen (2014) this study supported the findings as people were more fearful regarding terrorism. Age was not a predictor of fear in this study as there was not a large demographic of age as the majority of participants were students.

Social Communication theory (Bandura, 2001) looks at the use of specific words to influence people. The news coverage of terrorism explained why people linked terrorism with Islam. This theory accounted for words that were used to influence one’s way of thinking. The media linked terrorists with Islam (Powell, 2011), which was highly understandable given the terrorist group IS and they placed emphasis on where they originated from, this only fueled those who had a hatred towards people of this faith, allowing for Islamophobia. It also allowed for people to make assumptions as it linked Islam with terrorist organizations, such as IS, as they wanted to establish a pure Islamic state (Post, 2005). Yousof et al (2013) discovered that much of the news coverage portrayed Islam in a more negative light and that the most dominant form of news currently involveed the Middle-East. When IS used the news media to show their atrocities or update their social media accounts (Klausen, 2015) with hate filled posts regarding the West, it was entirely understandable why people felt threatened and most of all fearful. Das et al (2009) found that those who were frightened after watching terrorist news projected prejudices (De la Corte, 2007; Zinchenko, 2009) and biases onto the outgroup. This brings in the idea of Social Identity theory which looked at the ingroup in relation to the outgroup. It could also be used to understand fear; as when the outgroup effected the “physical and psychological territory” (Schwartz et al, 2009) of the ingroup they became fearful of the opposing group. The outgroup in this sense is the terrorists, the attacks in France (Gunter et al, 2015; BBC, 2016) would have affected the people involved psychologically; which explained why they would become fearful of the outgroup (terrorists). It can also be linked with the media regarding truthfulness. Due to the male dominance of the media, males believed what the media said as they were part of the ingroup which in this case was the male dominance of the media.

As females were more inclined to agree that the media was all propaganda could be linked to the General Strain theory (Agnew, 2010). Using this theory, the media publicized the terrorist material which positively affected the terrorists as they were receiving the coverage they wanted. Which could explain why females viewed the media as propaganda. These findings presented a new idea as past research suggested that the public were manipulated (Van Dijk, 2006). The fact that females had this view suggested they were aware that the British media were less cooperative in terms of where their sources originated from (Biernatzki, 2002) and knew that the media could affect how they viewed terrorism in regard to biases (Papacharissi & Oliveria, 2008).

It was found that those living in a Western society were more fearful of attacks (Weimann, 2008) and it explained why people were afraid to go abroad on holiday, merely because of the hatred towards those of a westernized culture or even those who just lived in a Western society (Nacos, 2006). More research could be done on this area, specifically looking at those who viewed themselves as having a western culture in regard to whether they would feel safe abroad where terrorists have been known to operate; such as Turkey or Tunisia. Regarding other countries, it was discovered that Americans were fearful of becoming victims too (Weimann, 2008) this was in line with this study as UK citizens were also fearful of being attacked. This again linked with the idea of Westernized cultures being victimised.

The current study was the first to be conducted in the UK that looked at specific criteria, most of the terrorist research had been conducted abroad, mainly in America. The scale used was brand new and directed specifically at certain aspects of the terrorist literature, such as: a link with media. It allowed for cultural differences (ethnicity) throughout the study, whether collecting data or completing the analysis as it was used as a predictor. Some studies experienced biases that negatively impacted on the results, in this study, biases were seen as positive as it showed people were being truthful in their responses. Linking Islam with terrorism for example was a bias but allowed for people to show their true feelings. It also set a starting point for future research.

There were a number of limitations to this study. To begin with the sample size could have been bigger, which would have given stronger and more significant results. There were more females than males which posed a problem in terms of the reliability of the study, as there were less men involved, it could not be generalised to all men as it was such a small sample. There were many practical difficulties too, for the reliability of the study and to ensure the scale was affective, using a small sample; a pilot study should have been completed to ensure that the scale was sufficient. The questionnaire was not specific enough in terms of the results. There were sections that deemed non-significant, which could have been due to the nature of the questions and perhaps participants were confused as to what was really being asked of them or they were uncomfortable answering them honestly. On the subject of the geographical implications, it was not very valid as the majority of the participants were students and so only a few were representative of the wider population so more were needed. In the beginning of this study, in order to gather the correct but relevant data, it was intended to be viewed as individualistic, as each participant answered their own questionnaire separately. However, as the questionnaires were handed out to students in a university setting, their answers could have been influenced by those within their social group. This means the study at this point could be viewed as collectivist due to the social groups influence on their answers and cultural differences among the individuals of that group. The participants were asked about their religion which may have posed an issue. The problems that were associated with this is that if an individual noted that they were religious but did not practice their religion or have a faith, it would have impacted on the results. It could have impacted specifically on the fear due to beliefs outcome as even though those that were religious were more fearful, if they did not practice it or have a faith then it would not be due to their religion. To overcome this in the future, the participants should be required to state their religion but also include details relevant to whether they practice that religion or have a faith, this would prevent any biases.

There were opportunities to look at both quantitative and qualitative research in the future. Quantitative studies should concentrate on the newest form of media and focus specifically on how often it is accessed. The participants for this should be of an older generation who are employed or retired, rather than just concentrating on students, it would give a more beneficial outcome. Instead of providing just questions, use real life terrorist scenarios covered by the media to see how they react and respond to it in the questions provided, to gain a true reflection of how they viewed the media’s coverage of a real-life terrorist scenario. Qualitative studies should use focus groups that relate specifically around their culture. For example, have three groups overall; group one contains those of an Asian culture, group two focuses on those with a British culture and group three looks at a European culture. It should be a guided session discussing a few topics that can be linked with terrorism, such as the refugee crisis or boarder security for example.

In conclusion to the findings of this study the media did impact on how people viewed terrorism and a symbiotic relationship between the two had been established. It is important that it is looked at more thoroughly in the future to see if the interactions cause serious concern. This study paves the way for future research and gives researchers an idea of what has already been found.


Word count:8876 , excluding- acknowledgments, abstract, table of contents, tables, quotations, references and appendices


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Appendix A

Please see below the questionnaire that the participants receieved:

Information sheet

If you choose to fill out the questionnaire, you will be answering questions about your perceptions of terrorism and the media. The estimated time required to complete this questionnaire is approximately 10-15 minutes.

All information gained will remain strictly confidential and no one will have access to it outside of the individuals involved in this research. Your questionnaire will remain anonymous. Your name is not required.

Your participation is voluntary and you are free to withdraw from the study until you hand the questionnaire back. By giving the questionnaire back you consent for your data to be used in my study. Once you hand back the questionnaire, you CANNOT withdraw your data.

If you are interested in receiving support about any issues raised in this study, please contact the following centres:

Samaritans- Freephone: 116123 or alternatively visit the website: http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us

Supportline offers emotional support for children, young adults and adults -01708 765200

If you feel you need any additional information concerning this study before or after it is complete you can contact the investigator by email or post.

Participant retains this sheet.


How old are you?   ………………..

Gender?   ………………..

Are you religious?   Yes / No

If so, what are your religious beliefs?   ………………..

What is your ethnicity?   ………………..

Occupation? (eg. Student, retired)   ………………..

What type(s) of media do you access for news and current affairs? (Please tick all that apply)




Radio news

Internet sites

Such as YouTube

For news

Android/Apple apps

that provide news

News on Social media

Please complete the following questions by circling the relevant option to which you agree, on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:

  1. Terrorists utilise the media in order to further their activities?

Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree

  1. The media portrayal of terrorism is completely truthful?


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree

  1. “I am fearful of being involved in a terrorist attack.”


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree

  1. ISIS/IS are more of a threat to the UK than the USA because of the media?


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree

  1. The media portrays all attacks as being Terrorism?


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree


  1. “I am fearful of being targeted due to my religion and the portrayal of my religion in the media.”


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree

Please complete the following questions by circling the relevant option to which you agree, on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:

  1. Is the portrayal of terrorism in the media based on a male perspective?


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree


  1. The media encourages acts of terrorism?



Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree


  1. “It’s all propaganda, the media don’t show true Islamist values.”

Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree


  1.  Based on what you’ve seen in the media: domestic terrorism is   a bigger threat than international terrorism?



Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree


  1.  If the media didn’t report on terrorist acts, then they would stop?


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree


  1. The media feeds the propaganda of terrorism?

Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree

Please complete the following questions by circling the relevant option to which you agree, on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:

  1. When any atrocity occurs we always think “terrorism”?


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree


  1. Males are more likely to flee to Islamic State than females?


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree


  1. When somebody says “terrorism” you automatically think Islam?


Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree

  1.  All terrorists are mentally ill?

Strongly Disagree         Disagree         Neutral         Agree         Strongly Agree

Appendix B

Please find below the SPSS output regarding the results section:

Choice of media and Age ANOVA:

Traditional or Non-traditional
Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
Between Groups 10.971 2 5.486 10.229 .000
Within Groups 59.529 111 .536
Total 70.500 113

Choice of media and propaganda ANOVA:

Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
Propaganda 18.103 2 9.052 7.068 .001
142.151 111 1.281
160.254 113

Age and propaganda independent t-test:

Independent Samples Test
Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
Propaganda .920 .340 -3.737 112 .000 -.789 .211 -1.208 -.371
-3.737 111.023 .000 -.789 .211 -1.208 -.371

Gender and propaganda independent t-test:

Independent Samples Test
Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
 Propaganda 2.817 .096 4.192 112 .000 .981 .234 .518 1.445
3.822 45.754 .000 .981 .257 .464 1.498

Ethnicity and fear ANOVA:

Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
 Fear 23.512 2 11.756 13.662 .000
95.514 111 .860
119.026 113

Religion and fear independent t-test:

Independent Samples Test
Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
Fear 10.764 .001 -3.371 112 .001 -.637 .189 -1.011 -.263
-3.086 67.205 .003 -.637 .206 -1.049 -.225

Occupation and truthfulness, portrayal and propaganda ANOVA:

Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
Truthfulness 15.816 3 5.272 6.317 .001
91.807 110 .835
107.623 113
Portrayal 20.639 3 6.880 6.394 .000
118.353 110 1.076
138.991 113
Propaganda 39.431 3 13.144 11.966 .000
120.824 110 1.098
160.254 113

Age, occupation, choice of media and portrayal multiple regression:

Variables Entered/Removeda
Model Variables Entered Variables Removed Method
1 Age, Choice of media, Occupationb . Enter
a. Dependent Variable: Portrayal
b. All requested variables entered.
Model Summary
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .369a .136 .113 1.045
a. Predictors: (Constant), Age, Choice of media, Occupation





Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 18.928 3 6.309 5.780 .001b
Residual 120.064 110 1.091
Total 138.991 113
a. Dependent Variable: Portrayal
b. Predictors: (Constant), Age, Choice of media, Occupation
Model Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
1 (Constant) 2.394 .018
Choice of media .164 1.668 .098
Occupation .178 1.314 .192
Age -.107 -.786 .434
a. Dependent Variable: Portrayal

Ethnicity, religion and fear multiple regression:

Variables Entered/Removeda
Model Variables Entered Variables Removed Method
1 Religion, Ethnicityb . Enter
a. Dependent Variable: Fear due to beliefs
b. All requested variables entered.
Model Summary
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .466a .218 .203 .916
a. Predictors: (Constant), Religion, Ethnicity
Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 25.896 2 12.948 15.433 .000b
Residual 93.130 111 .839
Total 119.026 113
a. Dependent Variable: Fear due to beliefs
b. Predictors: (Constant), Religion, Ethnicity
Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) 1.036 .264 3.926 .000
Ethnicity .407 .096 .372 4.219 .000
Religion .397 .185 .189 2.143 .034
a. Dependent Variable: Fear due to beliefs

Age, gender, occupation, choice of media and propaganda multiple regression:

Variables Entered/Removeda
Model Variables Entered Variables Removed Method
1 Choice of media, Gender, Occupation, Ageb . Enter
a. Dependent Variable: Propaganda
b. All requested variables entered.
Model Summary
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .499a .249 .221 1.051
a. Predictors: (Constant), Choice of media, Gender, Occupation, Age
Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 39.845 4 9.961 9.018 .000b
Residual 120.409 109 1.105
Total 160.254 113
a. Dependent Variable: Propaganda
b. Predictors: (Constant), Choice of media, Gender, Occupation, Age
Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) 3.479 .924 3.764 .000
Age -.010 .008 -.162 -1.233 .220
Gender -.706 .235 -.265 -3.005 .003
Occupation .143 .182 .100 .786 .434
Choice of media .251 .139 .167 1.811 .073
a. Dependent Variable: Propaganda


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