Searching for a Demon: The Media Construction of the Militia Movement

Steven Chermak, Indiana University

This poster will examine the ways in which the media constructed the militia movement following the bombing of the Alfred F. Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Its focus will be on providing an overview of Chermak's book that will be released in October 2002 (Northeastern University Press). This poster will show how this celebrated case transformed the public's consciousness about a largely overlooked movement, socially constructing it into a significant domestic terrorism threat. It will describe how the media (news, films, editorial cartoons, television) presented the militia movement in the 1990s. Quantitative media data will be presented to show how the coverage of the movement changed over time, the key sources used to describe the problem, the dominant images used to describe the movement, and considers why the movement was framed in certain ways. These media accounts of the militia movement are contrasted with first-hand accounts of the strategies, ideologies, and activities of militia members gleaned from extensive interview data.

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Updated 05/20/2006