Oslo Blast and Utoya Shooting as Publicity for 2083 Manifesto. Media Coverage Analysis

(photo by Emilio Morentatti, AP)

This is a very sensitive post in our series of analysis of crisis and their media coverage analysis.

It requires some preliminary remarks and statements:

1. This blog, all posts and this post are primarily designed for scholars and professionals interested in media coverage analysis, reputation analysis and branding.

2. As in all our precedent analysis, the aim and only goal is to provide information and knowledge arising from media impact monitored by MRI Universidad de Navarra.

3. We do not intend to clash or interfere with current criminal investigations.

4. We do not wish by any means to disseminate the goals and plans designed by Anders Breivik. We firmly oppose to them.

5. We have used only information freely accesible in internet using simple Google searches, and not through privileged information channels. (note: two days after I published this, it appears clear that everybody can reach the full content of this document).

6. As all citizens in Europe, we are horrified with the attacks, we abominate them and we suffer with the victims. I personally pray for the victims and their relatives.

Now, we propose our analysis of the Utoya shooting and some media impact result concerning the shooting.

(note: this post is progressively updated during the day with new data analysis).

As many people, we have accessed to the document published by a so called “Andrew Berwick”, who is indeed Anders Breivik, the author of Utoya massacre and Oslo bombings. It was freely accesible in internet as pdf document (at least by July 24, 10h am CET), as it was planned like this by Breivik. I do not know if this document will be accessible in the future, but it will probably always easy to find it out as the author has disseminated it through Facebook and social networks to many Far Right groups.

We got some captions from the documents, that we will present in this post. Of course, we do not publish information about the ideology and content of the document (as we have never done in any other previous analysis and post). But we need to show those elements that are essential to show the strategy followed by Anders Breivik concerning the attacks made two days ago, as it is the basis of our analysis in terms of media coverage.

We come directly to our own conclusion: the primary and probably unique goal of Oslo bombings and Utoya shooting was to advertise his 2083 European Manifesto among Far Right groups in Europe, and to provide credibility of his political project among these groups. His final goal is basically to ensure an racially rooted Europe, with a final deportation of all Muslim people from Europe.

This conclusion clearly emerges from one of the passages in the mentoned document:

Thus, the attacks have been planned in their cruelty just to ensure a media impact enough to ensure that it become a “marketing operation” to make the 2083 Manifesto known.

This position is established in other parts in the document, like the one presented below in this post about his Plan B (blast and shooting) also a red underlined text, presented as “operation in order to market the compendium that way”.

Breivik considers a wide distribution of his Manifesto (called compendium by himself) among interest groups as a key factor for ensuring the success of his revolution project.

Or this couple of paragraphs, very similar in content:

He understands his attacks as means to break the media “law of silence” against their principles and activities.

The document is completely credible about the author and his intentions and “political” design, as well as all the planning of the terrorist attack.

For instance, it clearly appears that he conducted all the bombing planning alone, a point that apparently is still unclear in police investigation:

He explained his solo tactics in other parts of the document:

Other elements that provide full credibility to the document as source for knowing his plot design and ideological intentions are:

1. He explains that he will appear dressed as police officer (last two paragraphs). It also refers to “investor contacts” to be emailed as the Far Right groups to receive the document. He speaks about explosions and human casualties as “generate acceptable precisous metals yields” in order to ensure media coverage visibility.

In his terror tactics explain why to use police officer uniform

2. He explains that he is using the agricultural firm Geofarm as cover for obtaining all explosive components:

3. He clearly points out to the strategy of attacking the Labor Party Youth camp. In the first text he explains how to prepare the attack. The second text helps to explain his extreme cruelty killing young people. In the third one he explains why this kind of gathering are perfect terror targets.

4. The last entry is published just 2 hours before the blast

A collateral but very distressing fact to me is that he explains that his training method for Utoya shooting is one simulation video game. Even if I do not post personal opinions, this element should open a debate about these war games.

Finally, I show an additional caption where it apparently shows that because of lack of funds he turned from his initial desing to “sell” his ideas through political ways (plan A) into a terrorist attack plan (plan B). Even if the author put this decision in the period 2002-2006, the actual starting operations date from Autumn 2009. In any case, this means that Breivik has been preparing the attacks for at least 3 years.

Another point of controversy is that if this can be considered as a Christian Fundamentalist project.

The following programatic text shows clearly that his mindset has nothing to do with religious fundamentalism

Of course, in normal times, being a Christian atheist is a contradiction in its terms. This is not contradictory for Anders Breivik, as his notion of Christian conservatism is merely to take some societal values linked to old Christian societies as political guidelines. Breivik’s Christian project and society does not require Jesus Christ, not the Bible nor even Good, as it is clearly shown in the text presented. In this sense, the need for Christian references is similar to the Nazi project in the sense of looking for ancestral roots and rituals. It has nothing to do with religion.

All these elements of information drives us to our initial conclusion: we are facing a perfectly calculated long plan for ensuring a maximum exposure of his political ideas and project. Unfortunately for Norway and us all he has apparently succeed, and he is currently receiving massive media attention. Norway do not consider death penalty and apparently maximum time in prison is 21 years. Taking advantadge of internet and social network development he has ensured that his plan is known by all extremists groups, and he is trying to “activate” them with his hideous attack.

Right now (24 July, 17h CET), there are many media sources that are showing elements of the Manifesto, like BBC, Al-Jazeera or CNN. But they are not yet pointing out that the goal of the attacks was precisely to disseminate the content of the 2083 European Manifesto.

We want to provide information about how global media is dealing with this issue.

First analysis shows to which extent media coverage of the massacre is global. It refers to news about Utoya massacre.

Evidently, this is not a tragedy confined mainly to local newspapers. News from Norwegian newspapers count only for 7% of all news about the shooting. This is also due to the fact that Norway is a rather small country with a limited number of newspapers. Neighbourg countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Netherlands) count for another 6% share. Other remaining countries from Europe publish 55% of all news.

USA and Canada represent 18% of all news. This is lower than their natural news share. Asia, Australia and Latin America are responsible for the last 14% of all news.

Of course, this is a massive shooting with global impact, but our results indicate that Europe is the most sensitive area to the massacre.

As a complement, we show the initial time trend of media interest of different regions. This is not the evolution of total news, but the relative share of all news among different regions. Our results show that the share of news from Norway is increasing constantly. Media interest from Europe keeps stable while newspapers from outside Europe tend to decrease media coverage.

Of course, the eventual mid to long term consequences of this attack will affect mainly countries in Europe, as Far Right movements in Europe are targeted by the Manifesto and will impose new control measures from security and intelligence agencies in Europe. But this attack can also influence movements in the US and in countries in Central Asia. Media from these countries should also be aware and interested in the evolution of the Norway investigations.

We published our own conclusions about Utoya shooting motivations on July 24, by 13h30 CET. At that moment media references to 2083 Manifest document where still marginal. Right now full media coverage is given to the existence of the document and to some parts of its content. Media from some countries show contents referring to how Anders Breivik perceives local politics.

Quite astonishing from our point of view, there are some media that even establish links to the full document. We are really surprised as this long document contains a lot of information about how the Norwegian terrorist has planned and executed his succesful attack. Even is some journalists argue that this kind of information is similar to other existing documents by terrorist groups, we do not understand why they facilitate its distribution.

As we showed at the beginning of this post, this was in fact the solely motivation for killing this huge number of innocent young people. It is somehow disturbing to observe that media are facilitating the success of his terrorists goals. This was nevertheless a foreseable output, also planned by the terrorist.

We find this approach by these some newspapers really embarrassing. There is no a conflict with freedom of speech and freedom of press to restrict the access to the document by the media themselves or by public authorities. The nature of the document is not only about Anders Breivik political and ideological views. It is also a matter of how a terrorsit explains strategy and tactics on how to design and execute terror attacks. In some countries, the open distribution of such documents is considered as terrorism apology, a punishable crime.

The evil of 2083 Manifesto is that even if 95% of readers will find all the content repulsive and execrable, its distribution really increase the risks of new terror attacks, as the terror principles proposed by Breivik are to create as many “solo cells” as possible, that can be spontaneously induced and activated just by finding readers sympathetic with Breiivk ideas and project.

This is why Anders Breivik considers the distribution of 2083 Manifesto as a recruiting strategy and not merely a way to show his ideas. Please look at this clear statement:

Even if it seems too crude, we feel that media and web sites providing free access to all 2083 Manifesto documents are perfectly in line with what Breivik was seeking with his massacre. Of course, we understand that restricted access to scholars or other professionals makes sense, but we find disturbing this free access policy just for satisfying curiosity.

We show in the next figure how news references to 2083 Manifesto are exploding during the day.

Again, we present relative numbers, and not absolute numbers. We show the time evolution of the share of news about Anders Breivik that directly refer to 2083 Manifesto, by regions. We present three measures: at 12h CET, at 17h and at 20h.

News from Scandinavia, now including Norway, keep relatively stable around a 2% value. News about Breivik increase at the same pace that news mentioning the manifesto.

We observe a strong increase of the prevalence of news about the Manifesto in the rest of Europe and in US media. This morning, references to the document was negligible in the US, and right now they suppose some 10% of all cummulated news about Breivik. A similar trend in news from Europe.

Media interest in the document is lower in other areas of the world (LatAm, Asia, Australia).

Media in Europe consider Manifesto document very appealing for explaining the “political” motivations of the terrorist, and they present some of his ideological thesis in the articles. Even if they present them as the work of a perturbed extremist, media is currently channeling the message that Breivik wanted to be known by targeted people and groups, the Extreme Right groups in Europe.

(Addition July 25, 13h)

References to 2083 continue to increase in media coverage. Some media discuss about local politics using content from the compendium. For instance, US media polemicize about American author Robert Spencer, as his views about Islam and Yihad are backed by Anders Breivik.

In the following figure we show the weight of 2083 Manifesto in media coverage in main countries in Europe. It include news published up to July 25 10am CET.

Spanish media is the individual country citing more profusely 2083 Manifesto (in relative terms to all news about Breivik), in 24.6% of all articles. European average is right now 11.8%. We find also well above European average countries like Poland, France, Serbia or Russia. It is worth to note here that Breivik considers Ratko Mladic a fighter for the cohesion of Europe.

References to 2083 Manifesto have increased sharply in Norwegian newspapers, and now they account for 9.5% of all news. This change of media attitude has not been followed by the other Scandinavian countries, as they still get the Manifesto almost unnoticed. A similar trend is found in British and Irish media. It would be interesting to know why, adn probably has something to do with current scandals affecting sensationalistic press.

Apparently it does not emerge a common media trend as for countries experiencing local problems with Far Right groups.

How Massive is Media Coverage of Utoya Massacre? A Comparative Event Analysis.

(Addition July 25, 18h CET)

Anders Breivik was seeking global and massive media attention. We have already shown that media interest is global.

Now we will show how massive global and regional media coverage of Utoya massacre is. The way we normally follow at MRI Universidad de Navarra is to show the impact of an event by providing comparison to other similar or relevant events. This requires from us to monitor a wide range of international events.

We have profusely used the comparative analysis in our initial studies linked to what we call “media value” in professional sports, as in the sport industry, media impact is the most relevant factor. A number of sport related studies are avaliable at Economics, Sport and Intangibles research group site.

We have selected here a number of selected recent events:

1. Ratko Mladic arrest.

2. Bin Laden killing

3. Gabrielle Giffords assassination attempt.

We take the level of media coverage reached up to date by Utoya massacre as value 100.

All cases refer to political oriented violence or arrest/killing of terrorists. In all cases, main action start and ends in the first day.

First figure refers to media coverage in European countries.

Our results indicate that current media impact of Utoya tragedy is higher than media attention received by Mladic arrest and Giffords’ shooting. The impact of Bin Laden killing was some three times higher than the current Norwegian event.

The picture changes substantially when we look at US media coverage. As two other issues directly affected US interests, we find that media coverage given to Gabby Giffords shooting was some six times higher than present coverage to Utoya attack. The media impact of Bin Laden killing was almot 12 times higher. In order to make data comparable we have selected in all cases total media coverage during the three days after the event takes place. Total media coverage is of course higher, as media coverage to Breivik attacks will continue to grow.

We chose a third region, Oceania, as Australia and New Zealand are not directly involved in any of the four events analyzed. This provides a more genuine measure of how massive and global is media impact of Utoya attack.

We find that media attention to Utoya is higher than coverage given to both Mladic arrest and Giffords shooting. Bin Laden death produced a media impact five times higher than the Norwegian tragedy.

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