Just when you thought the mainstream media coverage couldn’t get anymore surreal…
Question: should ‘ISIS’ be considered a credible news source? Sadly, CNN does.
In the wake of the Paris Attacks, a most disturbing trend has suddenly emerged in the mainstream media’s ‘terror’ coverage – where CNN, FOX News, and other majors are now deferring to ISIS press releases as a primary news source.
Leading the charge on Wednesday was CNN’s intrepid reporter, Chris Cuomo, who seemed uncomfortably dazzled by a report in the latest English language issue of ‘ISIS Monthly’ akaDABIQ Magazine (image, left), a glossy coffee table rag filled with colorful jihadi lifestyle features and career advice for aspiring young terrorists (if only it were a joke).
The DABIQ article proudly displays an image of a 16oz Schweppes Gold pineapple soda can with a few bits alongside it, claiming that this was the bomb that brought down Russia’s Metrojet Airbus A321 – a plane which broke up in midair 20 minutes into its journey after leaving Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, en route to St. Petersburg, Russia on Oct. 31st.
The DABIQ article goes on to reveal a grand plot (albeit, after the fact), saying, “After resolving to bring down a plane belonging to a nation in the American-led Western coalition against ISIS, the target was changed to a Russian plane”.
‘WORKING THEIR SOURCES’: Crack ‘journalist’ Chris Cuomo scored a major scoop from the ISIS propaganda magazine. CNN even properly credits the terror group, as evidenced in the upper right hand corner ‘ISIS/Dabiq’.
Then comes the big DABIQ reveal: “A bomb was smuggled onto the airplane…”, although it doesn’t explain exactly how, or by whom. Seeing as the Sinai airline disaster took place almost 3 weeks ago, you’d think that ISIS might have boasted about this brilliant ‘job’ earlier. Maybe they were busy planning for Paris, or working on the magazine. Who knows. More reason to believe that the DABIQ article is nothing more than a very sick prank – unless of course you are a member of the mainstream media – then it’s good as gold.
‘What’s the take?’
Granted, most people are used to seeing this type of vapid reporting on TV, but it’s still astonishing to watch how CNN’s Cuomo seized upon his latest ‘scoop’ without even questioning the validity of the source. Later in their coverage, Cuomo tried to ‘walk it back’ somewhat, but still presented this ISIS propaganda as if it was actual ‘evidence’ of a bomb that brought down the Russian plane.
CHRIS CUOMO: “Joining us now is CNN’s Ian Lee. He’s in Cairo; he has the latest. Now, Ian, as you know, the early reporting was that this was a 1-kilogram explosive, that’d be about 2.2 pounds, certainly different than this soda can. What’s the take? ”
IAN LEE: “That’s right, this is a fairly primitive bomb. When you look at it, you do have that soda can. Now explosive experts have told CNN that that could hold about 500 grams, roughly a pound. But they say that’s enough to take down a plane. You also have the detonator and you have the switch.”
Now we do not know if this is in fact the bomb. It could be ISIS trying to throw investigators off their trail. But all signs are pointing that that it was a bomb that took down the plane. Now, the one thing that is also very concerning about this bomb, it’s is that if you look at it, it cannot be remotely detonated. This was a suicide mission, if it was the bomb…
CHRIS CUOMO: “Big point there at the end. Ian Lee, thank you very much for the reporting!”
‘TEAM COVERAGE’: David Soucie, Chris Cuomo and Josh Rogin (purple tie).
CNN’s then rolled out one of its many panels of ‘terror experts’, which on the occasion includedJosh Rogin (Daily Beast) and ‘Safety Analyst’ David Soucie, both of whom seemed to parrot Cuomo’s infatuation with the soda can images, all nodding in unison and seeming to agree that somehow, ‘Yes, it all makes sense Chris!’
Based on what’s been released so far from the official investigation into the Sinai airline crash, it’s clear that the soda can CNN and ISIS have been touting around this week could not have held the explosive material necessary to trigger the fatal explosion. According to Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, it’s estimated that the bomb TNT load was at least 2.2 lbs (1 kg). This would make DABIQ’s soda can claim even more impossible than it already is, unless of course, it was a Six Pack (now that would’ve been a real scoop!). Although CNN had access to this report at the time of their ‘Schweppes Bomb’ scoop, it didn’t slow down Cuomo and their crack news team from running with the ISIS version of events.
If ISIS says so, well then, that’s good enough for CNN.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. CNN’s brain trust go on to ask, ‘is it possible that this soda can could have been detonated remotely?’, even though the crude switch meant to look like a detonator in the photo – looks nothing like a remote detonator. Hence, Ian Lee’s awkward deflection during his exchange with Cuomo.
Even if the DABIQ article were somehow true (and who in their right mind would root for that?), there is something very weird about western TV networks whose ‘expert’ panels are comprised mainly of ‘former’ CIA operatives, Pentagon staffers, think tank fellows and private security executives – who rely on information supplied by what is supposed to be a ruthless international terrorist outfit. It’s a little obvious to how easy it would be to deliver misinformation anddisinformation directly to millions of viewers worldwide. Funny that we find CNN right in the middle of that very uncomfortable junction, often doing most the PR heavy lifting for a dubious media production like DABIQ.
Interestingly, Schweppes Gold (non alcoholic) Soda Facebook page has 169,000 ‘likes’. Coincidentally (or not), its last post was on Oct 30th, some 24 hrs before the Sinai crash, showing a rather dark depiction of a Schweppes Gold can, presumably for Halloween.
At any rate, you can expect full-sized soda cans to be banned from the in-flight drinks trolley.
‘Maybe, Could Be, ISIS’
Although Russia’s Security Council now admits, “we can say definitely that this was a terrorist act…”, there is absolutely no proof that ISIS is responsible for this mid-air tragedy, other than an insistence by the media and Washington’s ‘intelligence community’ (‘probably is’, ‘seems like’, ‘could be’, ‘most likely is’, ‘has the fingerprints’ and ‘has all the hallmarks” etc.), the usual political innuendos, and of course, spurious online claims of credit by various social media accounts claiming to be run by ISIS affiliates.
What should be more worrying about this and other ‘virtual’ terrorist exhibitions and corresponding propaganda, is the fact none of these terrorist social media claims could ever stand-up as forensic evidence in any homicide case in any criminal court of law. For US and European media outlets and hapless politicians, that seems to be just fine though. In other words, when it comes to the emotive subject of ‘ISIS’, there is almost no burden of proof for the mainstream media and US-European policy makers, so long as ‘security officials believe’, or ‘… we’re told by the Islamic State’. That and the fact that there is no real independently verifiable comprehensive record which defines or quantifies ISIS, its membership, where they come from, from where their money and arms are derived and where they reside. Until such a study is done, we are told to just accept certain self-styled ‘terrorism experts’ word as gospel (keeping it vague seems to be the trick here).
Why is the bar so low? Part of the problem is that passes for journalism in the corporate mainstream media these days is a far cry from anything which might have been taught in journalism schools or on the job 30, or 40 years ago. More than other recent events, the coverage of the Paris Attacks by the big networks embodies this terminal condition, one in which we are witnessing an erosion of facts, context and any real challenges to official statements. Instead, all we get is a bevy of anchors, correspondents and ‘experts’ (many of whom openly flaunt their ‘insider’ affiliations as if that’s meant to instill confidence in the viewer’s mind). If you went to sleep in 1985 and woke up in 2015, and turned on the TV, you would think you were living a repeating scene out of Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil.
Earlier in the week, 21WIRE asked a reasonable question regarding the ‘magic passports’ of the supposed suicide bombers on site, one which seems to have evaded the whole of the mainstream media and even much of the alternative media. Simply: is it possible that the alleged ‘Syrian’ passport was likely planted at the scene of the crime? Indeed, that’s what some European officials are now admitting.
Without the ‘Syrian Passport’ leg of the official story, then the whole ‘Terrorists Are Sneaking in With the Migrants” talking point rapidly disintegrates, and wouldn’t that be a shame.
Why haven’t any of the major networks, with all of their millions of dollars and investigative resources, ever done a proper investigation deconstructing any of the ‘beheading videos’, many of which are obviously fake productions? Is it that ISIS has such a ‘great production facility’, or thatsomeone else is producing their videos for them? Whether its on a beach in Libya, or against a green screen with an actor called ‘Jihadi John’, the list of Hollywood-style forgeries is a long one, and no prime time special from CNN looking into this? Instead, CNN and FOX act as a force multiplier for these so-called ‘ISIS’ media productions. The mainstream media is giving validity to misleading ISIS material.
Is this legal? If anything should be the subject of a US Congressional or Senate hearing, this should.
The following was produced by a Turkish production company, but in advance of the ISIS beheading videos. Watch:
One gets the feeling that either:
A. The mainstream media is playing a dark practical joke on the public. B. The mainstream media pundits and ‘anchors’ are not smart enough to know the difference between what’s real, and what’s fabricated by ‘ISIS’, or someone else.
Either way, this is bad news for the public, especially in such an incendiary political environment where fear is the new order of the day, and where half the US political establishment is demanding a military “package” of ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria, which would almost certainly lead to a long-term occupation and wider regional war in the Middle East.
The only thing we haven’t heard yet, is talk of deploying “nukes”. Judging by the looks of it, that’s not far off now.
It only takes some well-placed disinformation and hysterical speculation to push this situation out of balance and into a regrettable state of all out war overseas, and at home. More than any other single entity, the mainstream media plays the pivotal role in nudging public support either towards, or away from any war. In the age of mass media and consensus reality, they bear most of the responsibility in that troubling process.
So a message, media elites… we can offer you some humble advice in these troubling times: a little restraint would go a long way.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.