The destruction of the World Trade Center and the assault on the
Pentagon may well represent an effort to overcome Western media speed
and diffusion, and to do so by staging a startling cataclysm involving
potent national symbols.
But more than that: It would represent an adjustment of the scale of potential terror to the scope of available media.
That is, it would not merely have overcome a diffused and quickly distracted media, it would have used the real-time abilities of the new media to stage an epic of murder and destruction, immersing a worldwide audience in horror and confusion as the events occurred. In the end, it would not merely have used media as a tool to disseminate an idea and demoralize an enemy, it would have used the media as one of its primary weapons, and made the audience participants in the apocalypse itself.