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Media's Role in the Public Perception of National Security

Instant Event Idea

Nuclear Terrorism: Blinding Horizons

Special correspondent Peter Bergen, author of best-seller Holy War, Inc., investigates al Qaeda's attempts to obtain and develop crude nuclear weapons. The film also recounts Bergen's travels inside the former Soviet Union, revealing worrying security lapses at various nuclear installations.

"After September 11 what was improbable or unthinkable is now something that people are concerned about." -Bergen

Produced and owned by National Geographic, this film can be obtained for viewing by contacting SPUSA's national office. Please allow one week to process all requests.

Suggested Ethical Questions for Discussion:

1. This is a media production covering a national security issue. Does it coincide with the norm in media releases?

2. How might this documentary be trying to influence the public? Are these influential attempts a result of any outside pressure on the producers?

3. Do you feel that any group – ethnic, political or otherwise, is misrepresented?

4. Does this documentary appear biased in any way?

5. There are a variety of quotes from experts in this video. Are they credible voices? Is there enough variety in the opinions represented?

6. Are journalists, such as Peter Bergen, a threat to our security?

7. Is the media prone to be used by terrorists, such as Osama bin Laden, to broadcast their threats?

8. Peter Bergen's job is a tough and controversial one. Does this documentary do enough to show the difficulties journalists, such as Mr. Bergen, endure?

9. Is the media being unfairly blamed for national security problems?