ERIC Number: ED312697
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
The Myth of My Widow: A Dramatistic Analysis of News Portrayals of a Terrorist Victim.
Dramatistic analysis suggests that the "New York Times" portrayals of the 1985 terrorist killing of Leon Klinghoffer, the 69 year old American tourist on the Achille Laurs, may contain a mythic dimension. Through the myth of the hero, the news stories invoked the symbol of the self, inviting intense identification of the individual reader with the terrorist victim. But in doing so, the news stories also provided the terror of terrorism. The news stories that drew from the myth of the hero, that invoked the symbol of the self in response to terrorism, helped the terrorists establish the link between the victim and the self. The symbolism of terrorism was also aided by the actions of public officials portrayed in the media. The victim was the terrorists' symbol of the nation, and was so honored by the media, and mourned by officials. Other political implications from news portrayals of the myth of the hero, and the mourning of the victim as a symbol of nation or community, might be suggested: (1) policy makers could appeal to the power of myth to arouse support for measures of prevention and reprisal; and (2) mythic images in the news might also help public officials create a powerful climate for revenge. (Two tables of data are included and 43 references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.; Gannett Foundation, Rochester, NY.
Authoring Institution: Emerson Coll., Boston, MA.