Since ISIS appeared on the scene it is hard not to notice how much of their own propaganda, and more so stories about them, are tailored so perfectly for Western eyes and fears. What is more striking though as time goes on is just how many ‘Isis did a thing’ stories turn out to be fake. I don’t mean that the beheadings, massacres or big events are staged, there are enough youtube warriors out trying to disproved that kind of thing. What I mean is the constant stream of daily headlines often feel part of something much bigger, it’s all shock shock shock, like internet and media reactions are being tested and studied for effectiveness. What pushes buttons and what doesn’t.
Particularly on the middle east, there is an entire industry dedicated to fulfilling Orientalist narratives with fabricated news. These are then lapped up by the neo-cons, racists, Sam Harris types etc. The emergence of ISIS here is real grist to the mill because you can publish the most outlandish claims with full confidence that it will be shared in the mainstream and all over for a few days without question. Too often now, the truth emerges a week later but never to the same attention. With ISIS there is something for everyone and you can target different markets for niche outrage because common variety genocide on its own just doesn’t interest people, does it. The ‘running off to join ISIS’ stuff coming out now is new departure in the long established panic around muslim girls, for example.
In the age of ISIS, it would be naive to believe the worlds of PR, clickbait, prejudice, internet tracking and Dail Mail-style outrage have not converged to be developed and used for nefarious ends. Whose ends an other matter.
Some related links
by Dr. FIVE; Today at 05:29 PM.