02 sep Al Jazeera, what else?
I have been interviewed by Al Jazeera English. The journalist wanted to know what I thought of the responsibility the media have when it comes to distributing messages of terrorists or other non established individuals. He had found my book on Abu Nidal which was published in 1989. Internet, I tell you…they will find anything, even if it comes from the Middle Ages. OK, I used to know something about the way terrorists think, plan, prepare, hide, escape and win. Sometimes. And I used that knowledge in classes with Master students in Finland, Holland and China. Just to explain how one functions without notes, mobile phones, a home, friends, bank accounts, Harvard business models, McKinsey organisation structures and agenda’s. How to survive on your own, on the run, not knowing what the next day will bring. In other words: can you manage a company if you forget everything you ever learned? Yes you can. Facing an equal competitor it may be your only way out, to forget all the others have learned too, and come up with something totally different and..unexpected. You should watch the faces of those young managers when I tell them how to think like a terrorist. A what? Indeed. Back to Al Jazeera. The not so young journalist looked at me the same way my students did when I told him that teher would be no terrorism without the media. So the media are responsible? In a way yes, I said. But the media are here to cover the news, so we have to ask ourselves what is news? News is what others make happen, not what you organize. So going to a school after an anonymous phone call and setting up your camera’s in front of it because ‘something will happen’, as the caller announced, and then witnessing the school being bombed is not news. It is manipulation. Aha, the journalist said, than what is Sky News? Or CNN? Or Al Jazeera? Are they the medium for news or for propaganda? What do you think, I answered. He thought for a while and said: if you look at all the news stations you might get the picture. A mix of messages and truth. Let’s say half the truth. Not bad. For TV. But he agreed that if the whole media world would avoid giving the floor to terrorists, they might stop their activities. But then, he added, they will use You Tube , make their own reports and we will have to take it from there. It will have become news. So what the hell, let’s not change our bad habbits. Talking about dilemma’s!