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Covering Bin LadenGlobal Media and the World's Most Wanted Man$
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Susan Jeffords and Fahed Al-Sumait

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038860

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038860.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Metaphorizing Terrorism

Metaphorizing Terrorism

Al Qaeda in German and British Tabloids

(p.73) 5 Metaphorizing Terrorism
Covering Bin Laden

Alexander Spencer

University of Illinois Press

This chapter shows that metaphors in the media actively take part in the construction of the world as we see it, think of it, and ultimately react to it. By projecting understandings from one conceptual area, such as war, to a different area, such as terrorism, metaphors naturalize specific countermeasures while placing other options outside of the mainstream debate. Metaphors are mechanisms for cognitive engagement by making abstract concepts and phenomena that are difficult to grasp, such as terrorism, comprehendible. The chapter begins by illustrating the concept of metaphors, reflecting on what metaphors do, and thereby outlining a method of metaphorical analysis. It then applies this method to tabloid news media discourse in Germany and the UK, and examines the four dominant conceptual metaphors that construct the terrorism of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in these media. These conceptual metaphors are: terrorism is war, terrorism is crime, terrorism is uncivilized evil, and terrorism is disease. The chapter concludes by reflecting on some of the differences between media representations in Germany and the UK, and outlines some possible explanations for varying metaphor usage.

Keywords:   metaphors, media coverage, Osama bin Laden, terrorism, tabloid news media, al Qaeda, Germany, United Kingdom

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