Nonfiction - History    Originally published by the University of Georgia  ,   May, 2007

Nonfiction - History

Originally published by the University of GeorgiaMay, 2007

Shooting the Ayatollah


This history thesis—researched and composed as part of my Masters in History program at the University of Georgia—quantifies the volume, type, and tone of images used by the mass-market newsweeklies—Newsweek, Time, and U.S.News and World Report—to depict Iran and the Iran hostage crisis in an attempt to characterize related media coverage. In four chapters, this study’s quantitative approach describes the entire lifecycle of hostage crisis media—from its creation in Tehran and Washington by news service reporters and Iranian photojournalists, its communication on the pages of the American news magazines, a statistical examination of news media consumption by various strata of American society, and a comparison of the American press and its Arab analogue. This thesis also tests a number of core assumptions about hostage crisis media coverage that dominated the contemporary press and continue to linger in the current historiography, providing a new, more accurate image of the crisis’s cultural impact.

Mr. President, I hope you were watching TV…”
— Former hostage, Bruce Laingen


Chapter 1: Introduction
the iran hostage crisis as a cultural product

A large demonstration was already underway when, shortly after 10:00 am on Sunday, November 4, 1979, a small group of chador-clad women from the Tehran Polytechnic University marched past the motor pool gate of the U.S. Embassy. The women suddenly reversed course and surrounded the Iranian guard stationed at the gate. Three hundred more students emerged from adjoining streets and crossed Takht-e-Jamshid Avenue—a road that, before the revolution, had been named in honor of Franklin Roosevelt—to cut the locks on the embassy gate and scale the compound’s eight-foot walls. The uniformed Iranian soldiers stationed on the American compound to protect the reduced embassy staff lowered their weapons and greeted the students with kisses.

The students, a group calling themselves the Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line, locked the gates behind them, preventing the even larger mob outside from gaining immediate access to the embassy. Wearing headbands that read Allah-u Akbar (اللة اكبر)—“God is great”—and black and white bibs bearing the likeness of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the students split into groups and headed toward the four main buildings scattered across the 26-acre American compound.

figure 1.1
The U.S. embassy compound in Tehran

In the chancery, a two-story rectangular building faced with narrow yellow bricks set back from the street on a circular drive (figure 1.1[1]), Colonel Chuck Scott, the U.S. Army military attaché, watched on the lobby guard post’s closed circuit TV as the mob swarmed through the gates and over the walls. He may have even seen an Iranian woman approaching the chancery carrying the misspelled sign, “Don’t be afraid. We just want to set in [sic].” Within minutes, the chancery staff retreated to the second floor security vault where Scott and Elizabeth Ann Swift, chief of the embassy’s political section, frantically called Washington and Bruce Laingen, the embassy charge d’affairs across town at the Iranian Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, marines armed with shotguns, flak jackets, and gas masks tried using tear gas to slow the penetration of the building through weakened basement window grates.

On the other side of the compound, Robert Ode, a retired Foreign Service officer on temporary duty in Tehran, watched from a second floor window as students approached the rear of the consulate. The staff and visitors sat huddled in an upstairs hallway hoping the students would pass by the empty downstairs windows and leave the building for empty. But word came from the chancery that they had been breached—a marine crackled through the consulate guard’s walkie-talkie: “You’re on your own. Good luck.”

The consulate staff decided to evacuate the building, releasing the Iranian staff and visa applicants before the American visitors and consulate staff. When it came time for Ode to step outside he was surprised to find the street quiet—the students and demonstrators converged on the chancery, leaving the consulate unguarded. He stepped into the first weak rain of the season and, with five other staffers, started away from the embassy compound along back streets. They barely made it half a block before a large group of Iranians surrounded them. Ode and the other Americans protested, trying to push their way through the crowd, until a shot rang out over their heads and men armed with pipes, pistols, and automatic rifles surrounded them.

Back in the chancery, matters had gotten worse. Armed students captured off-duty staff in their homes and brought them to the compound. Security Chief Al Golacinski went outside to talk with the militants but was instead bound and blindfolded. When Scott tried calling the Ambassador’s residence an Iranian voice answered the phone. Looking outside, he saw students roaming the grounds outside the chancery, ropes and blindfolds clutched tight.

The students started setting fires around the chancery, trying to smoke out the Americans, and dragged Golacinski in front of a security camera, threatening to kill the security chief if the chancery staff did not surrender. While reporting these developments over the phone to Laingen, Scott received the order to surrender. Once the communications staff was secured in another interior vault, giving them more time to destroy sensitive documents, the marines opened the security doors. Student protestors swarmed inside, wet and excited. And when the students came upon Scott and Swift, they grabbed the phones from their hands. “Who were you talking to?” demanded a student confronting Scott.

“Ayatollah Khomeini,” he replied. “He told me to tell you all to leave here and let us go.” The Iranian struck Scott across the face.

By 2:00 pm the assault was over. Ode was roughly led back to the embassy compound through the rain. Scott was led out of the chancery, a tight muslin blindfold covering his eyes and nose. Together with the other 61 Americans captured at the embassy that morning, the charge d’affairs and his two aides held at the Foreign Ministry across town, and six other Americans hiding in the Canadian and Swedish embassies, their hostage crisis had begun. A 444-day ordeal defined by isolation and mistreatment lay ahead for most of the hostage. A nightmare of torture and abuse lay ahead for an unfortunate few.[2]

But this is not how the Iran hostage crisis began for most Americans. As the students broke into the embassy buildings, and as the hostages were blindfolded and paraded across the grounds, camera viewfinders focused on them. Photojournalists covering the demonstration, or alerted to the seizure of the embassy, rushed to the scene, snapping off iconic images of William Belk, a towering communications and records officer, blindfolded in front of a small group of marine and diplomat hostages. Film crews recorded footage of Jerry Meile, a communications officer hiding in the interior vault, led blindfolded from the chancery between grim-faced militants. For most Americans the hostage crisis began 11.5 hours after the surrender of the chancery when CBS’s Bob Schieffer, NBC’s Jessica Savitch and Dick Schaap, and ABC’s Sam Donaldson began another 444-day ordeal—an ordeal defined by images of angry Iranian demonstrators, a scowling ayatollah, a powerless president, and the ordinary faces of Americans held hostage half a world away.[3]

Shooting the Ayatollah characterizes Iran and hostage crisis media coverage by quantifying the volume, type, and tone of images and visual techniques used by the American mass-market newsweeklies—Newsweek, Time, and U.S.News and World Report—and by comparing news magazine coverage of the hostage crisis with that of the regular network nightly news broadcasts. By focusing on these orthodox media outlets, this analysis intends to show that Iran and the hostage crisis consumed the attention of the media—and the media’s myriad audiences—at the expense of other newsworthy events and trends. This study will remove the metaphorical blindfold that, once covering the eyes of Americans obsessed with the drama playing out in an embassy under siege, has since transferred to historians obsessed with finding meaning in the way that drama was told.[4]

This study employs content analysis to describe the entire lifecycle of hostage crisis media—from its creation in Tehran and east coast newsrooms, through public communication on the pages of the newsweeklies, consumption by various strata of society, and in comparison with foreign media. Shooting the Ayatollah tests a number of core assumptions about the hostage crisis’ media coverage that dominated the contemporary press and lingers in the current historiography: first, that the media’s lack of foreign reporters denied the press access to Iranian culture and cultural assets[5]; second, that Iran’s absence from the printed and broadcast media prior to the beginning of the hostage crisis left the public and policymakers unprepared for crisis-era antagonism[6]; third, that the crisis was a human-interest story, not a diplomatic or political narrative, and that Islam and the Middle East’s treatment in the crisis-era press was monolithic and negative[7]; fourth; that Carter-era foreign policy decision-makers were immune to the pressures associated with public perception[8]; and fifth, that the Arab world’s view of the crisis was sympathetic to the Iranian revolution.[9] A scientific approach to the crisis-era press demonstrates the fallacy of these assumptions and provides a new, more accurate image of the crisis.

figure 1.2
Iran and hostage crisis newsweekly covers during the Iran Hostage Crisis

That the Iran hostage crisis dominated the contemporary media is demonstrated by a cursory examination of news magazine covers during the 444-day hostage crisis. Over a period of 65 weeks, Iran and the hostage crisis dominated the covers of Newsweek, Time, and U.S.News and World Report thirteen, eleven, and four times, respectively (figure 1.2), and additionally appeared across the top of Newsweek’s covers twice, in the corner of Time’s covers eleven times, and in a secondary position on U.S.News and World Report’s covers seven times.[10] Iran and the hostage crisis appeared on the cover of these newsweeklies more than almost any other issue; the contentious 1980 presidential campaign garnered eleven, nine, and twelve respective covers while the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan warranted only two appearances on Newsweek and Time’s covers and only one appearance on the cover of U.S.News and World Report.

The media is the essence of the Iran hostage crisis—through their use of the American press, the hostage takers and their supportive regime sought to change the mind of the American public about what the U.S. government should do and, thusly, affect change in ways negotiations never could.[11] Their goal was to bypass diplomatic channels and participate as a political force in the U.S. electorate. And as diplomatic channels increasingly broke down, the media became all the more important as a vehicle for international communication. But the crisis is also relevant because the media saw it as the most important story of the time and the president saw it as the most important item on his agenda. It was, according to a White House aide, “the central, dominant feature of the Carter administration from the day [the seizure] happened [until] the day that Jimmy Carter quit being president. It was the one thing that drove everything else in the White House.”[12]

Chapter two, “Revolution and Crisis Through the Viewfinder” argues that magazines are comparable to television in terms of their cultural and agenda-setting influence and that photojournalism is an important and unique lens through which news is transmitted and the first impressions of history are formed. This chapter also shows that, despite editorial differences, visual coverage of Iran was greatly equalized through collective reliance on the two major American news services, the Associated Press and United Press International. It further shows that Iranian photographers supplied a significant portion of pre-crisis and crisis-era photographs, a challenge to the current historiography’s assumption that the U.S. media lacked access to Iran and its cultural assets.

Chapter three, “Pornography of Grief, Pornography of Politics” demonstrates trends in the newsweeklies’ coverage of the crisis, including Iran’s dominance of the printed and broadcast media for a year prior to the embassy siege, a finding that suggests the American public should have been familiar with Iran before the capture of American hostages in November 1979. This chapter also characterizes the visual nature of the coverage, arguing that despite distortions of Iranian realities, there was no monolithic negative image of Islam in the U.S. press during the crisis as often depicted in Orientalist literature. It also shows that a diplomatic, political narrative kept pace with the human drama throughout the crisis and that Iran’s sudden departure from the national press was not because of neglect, but the result of changing public interests and the media’s expulsion by the ayatollah.

Chapter four, “Polls, Public, and Presidents” examines the impact crisis-era coverage had on American perceptions of Iran and Islam. This chapter also explores newsweekly readership, analyzing detailed marketing data and finding that magazines were disproportionately read by a demographic matching the classic description of the foreign policy public. Additionally, the combination of crisis coverage and the administration’s failures to manage the story combined to adversely effect crisis-related foreign policy decision making.

Chapter five, “The Iran Hostage Crisis in the Arab Press” compares American press coverage with that of two Arab dailies—Egypt’s Al-Ahram (الاهرام ), one of the most widely read and circulated newspapers in the Arab world, and Algeria’s El Moudjahid (المجاهد ). This chapter will show that the Arab press, while critical of the U.S., demonstrated no sympathy for the Iranian revolutionary cause. It will also show that American news services and conflicting local foci shaped Arab reporting of the crisis, creating an aggregate coverage that differed from its American counterpart little in substance but greatly in emphasis.

This study takes as its most basic assumption that cultural products—films, television, novels, magazines, news broadcasts, music, etc.—possess value as primary documents for revealing the past. Such products have often been employed to tease out the perceptions of a consuming audience or, more often, to loosely illustrate a point of cultural import in an otherwise disinterested study. But in this analysis, cultural products are measured to determine their outward characteristics and the conditions of their creation. This study will therefore show that mass communications are as much the product of the culture under examination as they are the manipulators of it.[13]

In order to discern an accurate picture of crisis-era media coverage, this essay uses an adapted form of content analysis, a common tool of intelligence and marketing analysis. Content analysis is the systematic and replicable examination of communications—verbal, textual, visual—using quantifiable methods and statistics to describe content, infer meaning, and assess a cultural product’s context both in terms of its consumption and its production.[14] Additionally, this study uses a consecutive sampling method, not a random or proportional sampling technique that might miss significant fluctuations in coverage types and intensity. This is a unique aspect of this study, done both to create a complete picture of media coverage and to avoid criticism and estimations associated with proportions, errors, and standard deviations inherent in non-consecutive sampling.[15]

Content analysis, as employed in this study, assumes that editorial space in printed or broadcast media is not an infinite resource and that “the news-reporting process” must be seen as a “forced choice in a closed system.” Within this system, as something new is introduced, be it advertising or information, something else must necessarily be displaced.[16] This measuring process is akin to scientific observation, allowing researchers to interrogate a large or varied volume of cultural products or documentary evidence in much the same way as a social scientist might interrogate a human subject.[17] In this context, magazines represent a useful medium for study because of their quantifiability and ease of access. But they also represent a good comparative medium for the broadcast media—more often the subject of communications study in regard to the Iran hostage crisis—because both media outlets represent closed-systems of content and have comparable audiences.

This analysis is also based upon the assumption that societies and audiences, like individuals, have only limited attention spans—as new problems and issues are introduced to the public dialogue, existing concerns are retired. This is not a deliberate process. Reporters and editors are often more concerned with getting magazines out on time than with issue displacement or forming public perception.[18] But by looking at the most empirical representations of the media’s forced choice—page counts, advertising space, columns, broadcast minutes—it is possible to discern trends in cultural products just as readily as trends in social focus and changing values.

Such a study is not entirely without precedent. Douglas Little’s American Orientalism demonstrated American perceptions of the Middle East as shaped by National Geographic photography—specifically the visual transformation of the region from a backward, barbarous desert into the modern, progressive oasis through the actions of the brave and industrious Israelis.[19] Melani McAllister’s Epic Encounters also analyzed cultural products– television, literature, and film—that shaped American views of the Middle East.[20] But the need for new approaches to cultural and media history is made apparent by even these studies. The cultural historian’s use of imagination and inference to develop theses, in lieu of quantifiable metrics and quotable policy documents, is frequently attacked. Quantification, a longue dureé perspective, and a more documentary review of the creation and consumption of cultural products can shore up the foundation upon which cultural history is built. Robert Darnton called for the creation of a history of communication in his 2000 American Historical Association Presidential Address and, indeed, such a history would help buttress many cultural studies.[21] This paper is an attempt to demonstrate one such method of analyzing historical communications to create a sophisticated and accurate image of cultural products and their impact.

Indeed, the only significant attempts to quantify media coverage of terrorism are Richard Schaffert’s Media Coverage and Political Terrorists: A Quantitative Analysis and Brigette L. Nacos’ Terrorism and the Media: From the Iran hostage crisis to the World Trade Center Bombing. Schaffert makes no cultural claims about the quality or nature of the coverage—rather, he attempts to connect incidences of casualty and mortality in terror attacks to public anger.[22] Nacos, on the other hand, makes excellent use of social and cultural data, connecting the crisis and a handful of other terrorist events to public opinion and presidential approval. But her scope of analysis is limited to the early months of the crisis, missing an opportunity to measure changing public attitudes and presidential fortunes against the duration of the crisis.[23] Journalism and popular history texts on the subject of the media and terrorism likewise deal very little with pre-September 11 incidents and, when they do, treat situations such as the Iran hostage crisis only as historical background, regurgitating the conventional historiography and offering little analysis.[24] Thus, Shooting the Ayatollah fills a quantitative gap in the cultural and media history of the Iran Hostage Crisis and corrects inaccuracies in the prevailing historiography, buttressing future media and cultural analyses.

[1] Illustration adapted by the author from Matthew Ericson, Mark Bowden, Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006).

[2] This account is derived from: Bowden, 44-64; David Harris, The Crisis: The President, the Prophet, and the Shah—1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2004), 3-4, 205-7; Diary, Robert C. Ode, November 4, 1979, “Diary”, Box 13, Ode Collection, Jimmy Carter Library; Charles W. Scott, Pieces of the Game: The Human Drama of Americans Held Hostage in Iran (Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1984), 16-26.

[3] Tehran is 7.5 hours ahead of New York, home of all three networks’ Sunday night 6:00 broadcasts. The networks are listed in order of viewership, according to Simmons Market Research Bureau, Inc. The 1979 Study of Media and Markets, vol M-11 (New York: Simmons Market Research Bureau, 1979), 25 and Nielsen data reported in "CBS Shakes Up the Season" Newsweek (April 7, 1980), 99. Because the attack on the embassy occurred on a Sunday, CBS and NBC’s main news anchors, Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor, respectively, did not break the story. Likewise, some markets did not show the weekend news. For instance, the Nashville, Tennessee CBS affiliate, from which this study’s CBS television data is drawn, did not carry the evening news on Sunday, November 4, 1979 in lieu of a Roger Mudd special about Teddy Kennedy.

[4] The creation of additional news broadcast programs, such as America Held Hostage—which would later evolve into ABC’s Nightline—factors into the total corpus of crisis-related news media. But such communications occur outside the closed-system of the regularly scheduled news and, thus, outside of the scope of this study.

[5] Edward Said is perhaps the most frequently cited proponent of this position; an examination of footnotes in hostage crisis histories reveals that Said’s work informed the first generation of crisis historians. In Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World, (New York: Vintage Books, 1997)—first published during the crisis in 1980—Said argues that the Western media’s failure to accurately cover the Iranian revolution and the first six months of the hostage crisis was the result of the absence of media bureaus in Iran and the Greater Middle East and the absence of Muslim reporters among the news outlets’ staffs. Said relies heavily on television news, newspapers, and newsweeklies as sources for this criticism—an irony given the ubiquity of Iranian photojournalists that contributed to many of these reports. Indeed, Said’s criticism is only accurate when one considers the broadcast press in a vacuum. His criticism falters upon any examination of newsweeklies, as shall be shown below, where Iranian natives and expatriates provided a large percentage of the visual narrative and were also often credited authors for revolution- and crisis-related stories.

[6] Criticisms of the U.S.’s lack of knowledge about the situation in Iran are numerous. Most historians draw from Gary Sick’s All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran (New York: Random House, 1985) and Stansfield Turner’s Terrorism and Democracy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991), two Carter administration memoirs that are quick to explain America’s lack of knowledge about Iran as an intelligence failure and a betrayal by the shah’s intelligence service, SAVAK. The lion share of this criticism is directed at American ignorance preceding the shah’s fall from power in January 1979—the implicit assumption that, after the shock of the shah’s fall, the Carter administration woke to the new realities of Khomeini’s Iran. But many cultural analyses of America’s crisis-era encounter with Iran, such as David Harris’s The Crisis: The President, the Prophet, and the Shah–1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2004) and Melani McAlister’s Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East, 1945-2000 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), explore the public’s ignorance of Iran before the hostage crisis. These cultural studies, some of which likewise explore the intelligence failures of the Carter administration, often blame the durst and quality of media coverage before the hostage crisis for perpetuating public ignorance.

[7] Said and McAlister are the principal sources for such criticisms. Both of these authors greatly emphasize the role of the crisis in shaping American perceptions of Islam and the Middle East—including the Arab world, which was antagonistic to the Iranian regimes and to Iranian Shī‘ism. Said and McAlister’s analyses of the hostage crisis’s cultural impact are themselves monolithic, down-playing or ignoring many of the other newsworthy stories about the Islamic World that appeared in the American press but in which no universally negative impression of Islam was communicated (eg. the Egyptian-Israeli peace accord, the Iran-Iraq war, or the invasion of Afghanistan). Catherine Scott’s “‘Bound for Glory: The Hostage Crisis as Captivity Narrative in Iran,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 1 (March, 2000) compares the appeal of hostage crisis human interest stories to that of Puritan captivity narratives, focusing on personal and human interest journalism and hostage memoirs at the expense of other crisis-era news media. Brigette Nacos’s Terrorism and the Media: From the Iran Hostage Crisis to the World Trade Center Bombing (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994) takes a quantitative look at the first six months of hostage crisis coverage and finds, rightly, a predominance of human interest themes in the written literature. But her incomplete examination of the crisis, like Said’s, leaves the totality of the crisis unexamined and has contributed to the perpetuation of crisis-media stereotypes founded on incomplete sets of data.

[8] Carter administration memoirs are the primary source for this argument—especially the many reminiscences of Jimmy Carter, including Keeping the Faith: Memoirs of a President (New York: Bantam, 1982) and The Blood of Abraham: Insights into the Middle East, New Edition (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1993), and Hamilton Jordan’s Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1982) which attempts to refute the claim that public pressure affected presidential decision making. Nacos and Patrick Houghton’s US Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001) attack this position on a number of levels, including analyses of presidential approval ratings, correlative decision-making, and the complex processes with which the White House monitored public opinion through the press and the polls. Indeed, the vast majority of presidential analyses consulted, ranging from communications studies (John Anthony Maltese, Spin Control: The White House Office of Communications and the Management of Presidential News, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994)), election studies (Kenneth L. Hacker’s Candidate Images in Presidential Elections, London: Praeger, 1995)), and the confessions of Carter’s own press secretary (Jody Powell, The Other Side of the Story, New York: William Morrow and Company, 1984) contradict any notion of a functional separation between public opinion and presidential decision making.

[9] This perspective is particularly advanced in contemporary news literature—especially surrounding events in other Muslim countries that journalists connected, rightly or wrongly, to the situation in Iran. Notable examples include Time’s exposé “The World of Islam,” about which more will be said below, and the newsweeklies’ coverage of the November 1979 seizure of the Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (The Sacred Mosque in Mecca) by Islamic fundamentalists opposed to the Saudi monarchy and the subsequent attack on the U.S. embassy in Islamabad. While the Islamabad attack resulted from public outrage in response Khomeini’s broadcast accusation that Americans were behind the Sacred Mosque attack, American press coverage of these and similar events created a simplistic image of Islamic militancy that eventually spread to nearly all evocations of Muslim faith and which obfuscated sectarian and ethnic differences among the world 750 million Muslims.

[10] The crisis appeared on the cover of Newsweek on December 3, 17, and 31, 1979; February 25, April 21, May 5 and 12, October 6 and 20, November 10, 1980; January 26, February 2 and 9, 1981; and additionally across the top on November 11, 1979 and January 5, 1981; on the cover of Time of November 19 and 26, December 3 and 10, 1979; January 7, May 5, October 6 and 27, November 10, January 26 and February 2, 1981; and additionally as an inset on December 17, 24, and 31, 1979; February 11, March 17, May 12, July 21, August 18, October 13, November 3, 1980; January 26, and February 2, 1981; and on the cover of U.S. News and World Report on November 26, December 3, 10, and 17, 1979 and in a secondary position, either across the top of the page or as an inset image, on December 24, 1979; April 21, May 5, October 6, November 3, 1980; and January 26 and February 2, 1981.

[11] The role of international terrorism as a domestic political force has been oft commented upon. Nacos focuses, on this aspect of terrorism and the frequency with which terrorists succeed in accomplishing their stated goals. She also looks at incidences of terrorist presence in the media and subsequent public and government reactions to the media’s role as a vehicle for terrorist rhetoric. William A. Dorman and Mansour Farhang’s The U.S. Press and Iran: Foreign Policy and The Journalism of Deference (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1987) explores news coverage of the crisis and its impact on policy decision making. Even the contemporary National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, in its Disorders and Terrorism: Report of the Task Force for Disorders and Terrorism (Washington, DC: Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, 1976) found the terrorists, through the media, had “a significant influence on public fears and expectations.”

[12] Harris, The Crisis, 214.

[13] Daniel Riffe, Stephen Lacy, Frederick G. Fico, Analyzing Media Messages: Using Quantitative Content Analysis in Research, (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998), 6-8. This assumption forms the basis of content analysis in psychology, where the condition of the content producer is often the subject of interest.

[14] Riffe, et al, Analyzing Media Messages, 20.

[15] Many content analyses of magazine coverage rely on “constructed years,” the sampling of roughly one issue per month, or 14 issues per year, to determine the editorial makeup of an entire year’s editorial coverage. Riffe, 99.

[16] John Naisbitt, Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, (New York: Warner Books, 1982), 4.

[17] F. N. Kerlinger, Foundations of Behavioral Research, 2nd ed (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973), 525.

[18] Naisbitt, Megatrends, 5.

[19] Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East Since 1945, (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

[20] Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East, 1945-2000 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

[21] The term longue durée is meant to suggest the Annales approach that gives priority to long-term structures over particular events.  Darnton’s comments are drawn from Robert Darnton, “An Early Information Society: News and the Media in Eighteenth-Century Paris,” American Historical Review, Volume 105, Issue 1 (2000).

[22] Richard W. Schaffert, Media Coverage and Political Terrorists: A Quantitative Analysis, (New York: Praeger, 1992).

[23] Brigette L. Nacos, Terrorism and the Media: From the Iran Hostage Crisis to the World Trade Center Bombing (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).

[24] This is especially true of terrorism texts published after September 11, 2001, of which Nacos’ later text, Mass-Mediated Terrorism: The Central Role of the Media in Terrorism and Counterterrorism (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002), is an example. It is likewise true of popular narrative histories, such as Harris’ The Crisis and Bowden’s Guests of the Ayatollah.