Laura Miller

March 23, 2016

Violence and horror too often exist around the world. This week the world was struck again with devastation and horror at the Brussels terrorist attacks from terrorist group ISIS.

Most often the theory of desensitization with regard to media refers to violence. The assumption is that people are exposed to large amounts of violence and thus become almost immune to it. This assumption falls into the social learning theory aspect of media suggesting that people learn what they are exposed to and in this case for the detriment of society.

The spread of information through social media especially about violence around the world spreads like wildfire as can be seen through this time-lapse of tweets that include the word “Brussels.” Violence catches our attention quickly as can be see by the quick spread of word of the attacks.

“Brussels” twitter spread from Washington Post

In light of these attacks, politicians in the US are using the attacks as a public relations tool to try to gain additional supporters for the upcoming elections by discussing their policies and ideas on terrorism and Muslim groups. This happened earlier in the presidential campaign following the Paris attacks as immigration and national policy positions began to be established by the front-runners. Once again, politicians like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz are using these new attacks to better position themselves in the eyes of the American people and world.

CNN Presidential candidates weigh in on Brussels attacks

Hillary Clinton discusses doing more than just building a wall like Donald Trump has been suggesting throughout his entire campaign. As discussed in my last post about breaking through the clutter on Super Tuesday, Clinton uses this opportunity to also create a small amount of controversy by bashing potential opponents Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and their stereotype reactions towards Muslims following the attacks.

Clinton bashes Trump, Cruz for rhetoric on Muslims, torture

Have we become so numb to violence that it requires us to use it for the advantage of our position as we have seen these politicians do?


CNN-Terror attacks reverberate in presidential race-Stephen Collinson

Washington Post- Clinton bashes Trump, Cruz for rhetoric on Muslims, torture

Washington Post- Watch how news of the attacks in Brussels spread across Twitter- Andrea Peterson

Research in Media Effects- Roger Wimmer and Joseph Dominick

Photo credits:

Political cartoon