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Leap 1-The Real Faces of American Terrorism

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

What do you picture the stereotypical American Terrorist to look like? This piece of propaganda will probably prove your stereotype to be wrong.

Originating from the NBC news website, this piece of propaganda shines a much needed light on the faces of American terrorists. The New American Foundation found that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, twice as many people have died in terrorist attacks commit by right-wing groups than by Muslim extremists. The faces above are responsible for killing dozens of American citizens. All of them are white. All of them are fellow citizens of the United States. This piece of propaganda works to disconnect the association between Muslims and terrorism.


Many Americans associate terrorism with outside forces and faces that are not American. In reality, every terrorist attack since 9/11 has been conducted by a US citizen or a legal resident. In 2017, our president, Donald Trump, banned seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia) from entering the US. His reasoning behind this ban was national security purposes. Since 9/11, not one lethal attacker has emigrated from any of these countries. There have since been revisions to this ban, but for many of these countries, travel is still restricted. To learn more about this ban click here.


The target audience for this piece of propaganda are those who falsely believe that most terrorist attacks in the US are committed by nonwhite non United States citizens. This work is meant to be an eyeopener, to help the viewer embrace what is truly reality.


The production technique being used to attract and hold attention is an emotional appeal. This piece of propaganda is meant to stimulate the fear factor to make this work hard to ignore. Looking into the eyes of men who have killed dozens in disturbing. Realizing that they grew up next to you and me is petrifying. To learn more about production techniques click here.


The persuasive strategy that is used is pathos. This propaganda is meant to stimulate an emotional response from its audience. Stirring up emotion is one of the best ways to get your audience to remember the message you are trying to send. Click here to learn more about other persuasive strategies.


A biased American lifestyle is represented in this piece of propaganda. Since 9/11, many Americans see the men who commit the 9/11 attacks as the face of US terrorism aka, Islamic men. This preconceived bias makes Americans seem ignorant. Americans value safety and assume that the best way to achieve safety is by closing off our borders. But this is not the way. Our terrorists were born and bred in the United States. Maybe the true way to protect our citizens is by bring more awareness to mental health and enforcing stronger gun laws.


For many, this message will be a hard pill to swallow. Some will deny that these faces (pictured above) are those of terrorists. For many, this could be a wake up call. In connection to current day issues, maybe this propaganda will make some think twice about their support for Donald trump building the Wall. For minorities, especially Muslims, maybe this piece will shine a light on the unnecessary discrimination they face on a daily basis. This begs the question, how much discrimination do Muslim's face in the United States? According to an article published by The Washington Post in 2017, 75% of Muslims living in the United States feel discriminated against. This is sad and unacceptable. This propaganda will hopefully be beneficial to any minorities who believe they are impacted by a false perception of terrorism in the United States.


Chapter 9 of the book Propaganda by Edward Bernays discusses propaganda in social service. The chapter begins, "And since social service, by its very nature, can continue only by means of the voluntary support of the wealthy, it is obliged to use propaganda continually. The leaders in social service were among the first consciously to utilize propaganda in its modern sense." (Bernays 147). This piece of propaganda is preforming a social service because it is trying to benefit the people of the United States by informing them and sharing facts with them that they might not know to be true. It is providing the service of education. In this case, it was a group in a position of power who shared this work. NBC news uses the power of their social platform to help this graphic go viral.


I do not believe that this propaganda could cause any harm. It is based on truth. Any harm that the truth creates, in the end will be beneficial.


Sources Used

“American Terrorists.” Learn | Mind Over Media, propaganda.mediaeducationlab.com/rate/american-terrorists.

Green, Emma. “How Much Discrimination Do Muslims Face in America?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 10 Aug. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/american-muslims-trump/534879/.

“Part I. Terrorism Cases: 2001-Today.” New America, www.newamerica.org/in-depth/terrorism-in-america/part-i-overview-terrorism-cases-2001-today/.

“Trump's Executive Order: Who Does Travel Ban Affect?” BBC News, BBC, 10 Feb. 2017, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38781302.


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