‘Terror Streams’: The Construction of Threat in Breitbart News



In this post I want to comment on how Breitbart News has reacted to the Westminster attack which took place in London earlier this week. Firstly, there is the title of the article:


The metaphor ‘Terror Streams’ is of interest. Metaphors of water such as floods and tides are often used in connection with the refugee crisis, but here we see another water metaphor being used, a ‘Terror Stream’. By using the concept of moving water, an unstoppable force of nature, the writer depicts the situation as something beyond our control, and the fact that the plural is used only amplifies the danger. Further, Europe is being compared with a war zone, which again, can only create a sense of danger and uncertainty.

war zones

Europe is described as a dangerous place to be; only in a war zone would there be a greater risk of terrorist attack at this time.

threat stream

In the above extract, the US general is quoted as using the metaphor ‘threat stream’ and not ‘terror stream’, which the Breitbart News writer uses in order to heighten the sense of danger. But again, the General depicts Europe as being the most dangerous place on the planet with the exception of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Westminster attack is the related to the refugee crisis in Europe as follows:


Again we see a water metaphor, a ‘flow’ of refugees. Furthermore, by closely relating refugees to the Westminster attack, the writer’s stance toward immigration is clearly depicted. It must be noted that there is no evidence relating the attack to refugees, as the the assailant was a British citizen.


The article acknowledges that the attacker was a UK citizen, but still associates this with the ‘influx of refugees’, because the government has to deal with the second situation, they are unable to respond adequately to the first. So again, refugees are responsible for the events which took place.

The article concludes with:


Thus the atmosphere of threat and danger is predicted to continue, and, according to the writer, Europe is to remain one of the most dangerous places on the planet due to the ‘Terror Streams’ which originate from an inseparable combination of refugees and Islamic extremism.

At the time of writing this post, the article had received over 200 responses. The first response clearly reiterates the stance of the Breitbart writer:


The political left, the political elite are blamed for the refugee crisis, which according to the writers of the above posts, is the direct cause of the recent attacks in London. The topos of threat is again very clear, as a situation of carnage and mayhem is predicted, and a total alienation from the political elite.

Therefore, the refugees fleeing war zones are depicted as a Terror Stream, and therefore a threat to European civilization.


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