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We found, for some clients, media coverage proves to be a mixed blessing regarding their grief reaction. Have you found this? As you know, the media plays a major role in portraying the ethical and cultural issues arising from terrorism. Ask yourself, does the media amplify or merely report the news?
In fact, especially in the case of September 11th and the anthrax scare that followed, the media were in an uncomfortable position. If they censor the terrorist news, they are infringing on the public’s right to know. If they give extensive coverage, they might terrorize the public and become allies of the terrorists. Through the way the media presents news of terrorist actions, through the selection of some facts out of the multitude of potentially relevant facts, through the associations they lay between the terrorist act and the social context, the media can have a profound influence that can create panic for an Anxiety Disordered client.
Objectivity in media reporting is, in such situations, difficult. The media might attempt to be as factual in their reporting as some of the British media try to be in regard to terrorism in Northern Ireland, but such a seeming detachedness is also not very objective since the lack of contextualization is also a form of distortion.
As with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, some clients relived the traumatic events. With each news story, one client experienced physiological hyperarousal by an exaggerated startle response when he would hear a siren, even though it was in the distance.
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