President Obama is calling out the media for trying the scare the American people about terrorism in order to boost ratings.
Transcript via NPR:
INSKEEP: You referred to ISIL’s sophisticated media operation and also referred to what Americans are seeing in the American media. Are you suggesting that the media are being played in a sense here?
OBAMA: Look, the media is pursuing ratings. This is a legitimate news story. I think that, you know, it’s up to the media to make a determination about how they want to cover things. There is no doubt that the actions of ISIL are designed to amplify their power and the threat that they pose. That helps them recruit; that adds in the twisted thoughts of some young person that they might want to have carry out an action, that somehow they’re part of a larger movement. And so I think that the American people absorb that, understandably are of concern.
President Obama was correct. The media is helping ISIL with a shameless ratings grab that whips up fear. The terrorists are not the only ones being helped by the media’s cynical strategy of scaring people into watching.
The media dynamic that has been unfolding is eerily similar to the coverage before the Iraq war. The media is repeating the same mistakes of the past decade by playing up fear at every turn. The questions at Saturday’s Democratic debate were loaded with the false premise that terrorism can be destroyed. Terrorism is a tactic based on an ideology. As the Bush administration demonstrated, the idea that terrorism can be defeated and destroyed is nothing more than a political pretense for more “boots on the ground.”
The media is playing into Republican hands with their coverage. Coverage of events is essential to an informed society, but the media is playing upon fear and using manipulation to boost ratings and profits.
ISIL is a legitimate news story, but the President’s point was that it is possible to cover ISIL without helping them or frightening the American people.
Obama was correct to call out the media, and the American people should vote with their remotes to reject the ratings grab.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association