cover image The Terrorism Industry

The Terrorism Industry

Edward S. Herman. Pantheon Books, $27.5 (312pp) ISBN 978-0-394-58080-7

Herman, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and O'Sullivan, a Ph.D. candidate there, raise legitimate questions about the accuracy of publicly disseminated information on terrorism; however, their presentation so lacks objectivity as to debilitate their critique. According to them, the ``West'' (a term frequently used but not clarified) ``engages in and supports a primary terrorism under the guise of responding to the violence of others.'' The public learns of terrorist activity from the government and from ``experts'' (overwhelmingly right-wing, claim the authors) who ``confirm and reinforce state propaganda''; television and newspapers are merely gullible conduits. Considerable effort is expended to show that the acknowledged experts form a closed circle, citing and supporting one another--and the authors' technique here sounds like one that they themselves denounce: ``classic right-wing principles of guilt by association.'' And while they propose that the word ``terrorist'' is political, they make no attempt to defuse the rhetoric, instead manipulating it to their own ends. (Jan . )