Gruesome State Department ISIS Video: Is It Ugly Enough?

The same kind of horrible video -- of a beheading -- that made a lot of social media users question whether anything that can be seen should be seen leads to another issue.

What if it’s your government that’s presenting video like that, and aiming it at potential ISIS recruits?

Apparently that’s the case. As Adweek and several other pubs are reporting, the State Department now has an easily accessible video on YouTube that shows would-be martyrs just how bloodthirsty their comrades can be. There is a lot of ugliness packed into this; amazing that a 21st-century thing like YouTube can be used as a propaganda tool to dissuade young people from reverting to barbarians.

The video, titled “Think Again Turn Away,” is horrendous all right -- I’m not going to link to it because I’d presume readers here would only be looking for the ugly thrill of it.   



But you might not feel it. On the quickly sliding numbness scale this video of compounded ugliness sadly doesn’t have the impact it might have, even a decade ago.

I hate to say it, but my lack of reaction made me recall that old warning, begun in 2001, that if the free world didn’t act wisely, the terrorists will have won.


It so happens that as I trolled Web sites, I came upon a story in the Midwest, where a group of suburban teens pranked an autistic classmate by inviting him to participate in the ALS ice bucket dunk. Except that when they did the dunking, their ice was really feces, urine and spit.

They posted their video. A TV station got hold of it. So did a major-size newspaper, and both ran the video. They blurred the victim’s face, but the rest was there.

I’d say, on a local cruel-and-ugly meter, that’s something someone at both of those media outlets should have considered. A story -- an important story -- was possible without showing the video, but I guess -- well, who thinks like that anymore?

Many Web sites got all puffy about those purloined nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton and others. Yet on truly reputable sites, you can easily find click bait that is loaded with double entendres about “hot” cheerleaders or athletes’ girlfriends and wives. Huffington Post has gotten rich with “side-boob” shots of famous, beautiful women.

So you’d think they’d feel kind of itchy about the latest nude shot flap. Not exactly. A couple days ago, it weighed in with “The Bigger Issue: Will Americans Ever Get Over Their Peeping Tom Mentality?”   

You could almost hear Ariana scream, “I hope not.”

It’s odd to suggest it because we’re so far, far past it, but what if those quality publishers out there had a standard. What if, as was once the case, being the least sensational had some value?  

THE LATE EDITION:  This posting is late because my laptop today became infected,  and then, to boot, my router fried. I live someplace where wireless isn’t such a snap and Starbucks will never open. Thankfully, my dog didn’t eat my modem, but I wish I was making up these excuses, but wouldn't ever claim a virus AND a router failure if it wasn't true. It's true. Here it is, past 6:30 pm Eastern. Sorry.
1 comment about "Gruesome State Department ISIS Video: Is It Ugly Enough?".
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  1. Bruce Apar from BruceTheBlog Unlimited, September 4, 2014 at 8:07 p.m.

    No hope for us peons, either, but I digress. Excellent piece, PJ. Especially the part about HuffPost, which started off as seemingly respectable, but now, in part at least, is like an online National Enquirer. Just not as literate.

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