Although the “violent bona fides” of ISIS are “not in doubt to anyone paying attention,” Adam Johnson, writing for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, notes that, “much of the ISIS threat — namely that which targets the West — has been habitually overstated by an uncritical media.” His article, “Top 10 Bogus ISIS Stories,” includes corporate media falsities and hyperbole ranging from accounts of a $425 million bank heist to genital mutilation of women. Each of the ten different stories reported by corporate media were later proved false or based on incomplete evidence or unreliable sources.
One story, reported by NBC News and the Washington Post, stated that over one hundred Americans were working alongside Jihadists in Syria. Soon after, the FBI issued a statement that only about a dozen Americans were in fact fighting with the group. Another story, reported by ABC News, announced that a map detailing a “terrifying” five-year ISIS expansion plan had been leaked. Subsequent independent reporting determined that the map had been on the Internet for some time and that its only source was a tweet by a known white-supremacist organization (Third Position).
By blatantly sensationalizing these stories, the corporate media serve their own financial interests, stirring controversy and fear among the US public by misinforming them.
Source: Adam Johnson, “The Top 10 Bogus ISIS Stories,” FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) Blog, February 22, 2015, http://fair.org/blog/2015/02/20/top-10-bogus-isis-stories/.
Student Researcher: Mark Penrod (Pomona College)
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (Pomona College)