Radical Islamic propaganda has undergone quite a revolution since the rise of the so-called Islamic State.
Gone are the days of grainy, single camera videos featuring high-ranking officials decrying Western values and promising swift retribution.
Today propaganda videos feature a much more modern touch with slick editing, high production value, and a focus on spreading the ISIS’ brand through logos, symbols, and mottos. Thanks to accounts from defectors from the so-called ‘Islamic State,’ we’re getting a clearer picture of exactly how the massive propaganda operation that the militant group has developed works.
“Camera crews fan out across the caliphate every day, their ubiquitous presence distorting the events they purportedly document. Battle scenes and public beheadings are so scripted and staged that fighters and executioners often perform multiple takes and read their lines from cue cards,” according to Washington Post reporters Greg Miller and Souad Mekhennet.
One defector even said ISIS’ media operatives are more important than soldiers, and that they have access to better equipment, living arrangements, and make seven times what a soldier makes in a month.
IS’ media division is said to be largely foreigners who have experience working in broadcast news or technology. Some of the videos feature the grisly scenes that have become synonymous with terrorist propaganda films - beheadings, immolations, firing squads, etc. Yet other videos attempt to paint the picture of an inviting, livable destination with a thriving economy and happy citizens.
With the U.S. and other world powers struggling to find a response to IS propaganda, what can be down to slow down the massive operation?
Greg Miller, reporter with the Washington Post, based in D.C.; he co-wrote "Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine"