Say it with us: Mea culpa. Evidently, WashingtonPost.com's Richard Morin finds that buying illegal drugs and donating to the nice couple at the Al Qaeda Defense Fund are no longer the only ways Americans can support terrorism. In his discussion with Bruno S. Frey of the University of Zurich and Dominic Rohner of Cambridge University, Morin revealed the vicious cycle that is print-begets-bloodshed.
We think Dr. Spock confronted this behavior first in children. If you reward kids by giving them attention during their tantrums, they learn that tantrums will get them what they want and they throw more of them. In a more serious vein, professors Frey and Rohner believe that the more the media covers terrorist attacks, the more terrorist attacks there will be. As Morin puts it: "It's a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a 'common-interest game.'"
How then, are journalists to disperse much-wanted information without inspiring further acts of terror? Frey suggests not naming the parties responsible for the act, noting: "Many experiences show us that in virtually all cases several groups claimed responsibility for a particular terrorist act."