Isis in the Media by Armina Jukovic

Posted on December 18, 2014 by


Illustration by Tom Bachtell

Illustration by Tom Bachtell

The first article I decided to assess is called,In Search of a Strategy” By Steve Coll written on September 7th, 2014 . The Author is Steve Coll and some background information on him is Steve Coll is an American journalist, author, and business executive. He is currently the dean of Columbia Journalism School. He is a former president and CEO of New America Foundation, and has been a staff writer for The New Yorker. Awards he has won consist of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction and Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.

This article is about ISIS and entails who they are, what they are doing, and how it is relevant to the United States. We have been at war with Iraq for thirteen years which is why this group came about in the first place. This article starts out by talking about how the Islamic state has changed since the end of the 8th century- Then it was known for pleasant things such as discoveries in science, music, and art. Now… “Isis fighters mount the dead on crucifixes, “as a warning to local residents.”

This article includes the perspectives of government officials in the United States. The main purpose of the articles is establishing a strategy to defeat this “dangerous” group. Obama wanted to end the costly war in America but he offered a casus belli in three parts because he believes the actions of ISIS justify a war. “As follows ISIS has massacred religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis, and American air strikes can prevent more wanton killing, the President has said. A second imperative is the defense of the Kurdistan Regional Government, a semi-autonomous, oil-endowed American ally in northern Iraq, which a few weeks ago was teetering under pressure from ISIS but has since recovered, with the aid of American air power. The third, and most resonant, reason that the President has given is self-defense: to disrupt ISIS before it tries to attack Americans in the region or inside the United States. Isis has also beheaded two americans so far. One of them that occurred in late November. An American journalist named James Fooley.

Coll makes ISIS sound very evil and dangerous. It fails to give the view of ISIS and their reasoning behind what they’re doing which would be helpful to a reader who knows nothing about the topic. Coll does an efficient job of explaining what is going on with the basic set-up of answering the questions of who, what, where, and when. He is able to keep the reader interested in the way that he starts of by telling a “story” related to the history of Iraq. Coll doesn’t take a stance on what side he is on but by understanding the context clues the reader can assume that he is against ISIS because he is only writing bad things about them. The title fits the topic because that’s exactly what the article is about- finding a strategy to defeat ISIS.

This article uses an image illustrated by Tom Bachtell. It is of three man who are masked holding guns to stand for ISIS since this group is the subject of the article. This photo gives a negative impression because the men are holding guns- if I didn’t know what the article was about before hand I could also assume that the image was positive in the way that it could be men fighting for their country. No name-calling or stereotyping is found in this article; this article is mainly just reporting on what ISIS is doing and what ideas America is coming up with to fight them and defeat them. This article touches on a couple different religious groups such as Muslims, Christians, and Yazidis. It talks about how ISIS has massacred religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis. Obama says that American air strikes can prevent more wanton killing. This article says one good thing about ISIS which is when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called ISIS, “as sophisticated and well funded as any group that we have seen… beyond anything we have seen.” The group has former military officers who can fly helicopters, spot artillery, and maneuver in battle. ISIS is increasingly a hybrid organization, on the model of Hezbollah—part terrorist network, part guerrilla army, part proto-state. But they are not using these talents for good.

The point of view being promoted would be that America should attack ISIS. Emotions I felt while reading this article was fear because it stresses the fact that ISIS is one of the most sophisticated groups our country has ever seen and they will not hesitate to kill an American- it talks about how ISIS has recently beheaded another American journalist named James Fooley. Then it goes on to talk about how ISIS has attracted five hundred British volunteers, many scores of other European passport holders, and even some Americans to its fight; they might eventually turn toward London, Berlin, or New York. Last week, British authorities announced that the threat of a terrorist attack on its home soil was “severe,” given the rising number of British Jihadis now among the militants in Iraq and Syria. This scares me because if they do gain the supplies they need to bomb a city in America they can possibly gain control in some areas of the United States unless we stop them before that happens.

The second article I chose is called, “ISIS fast facts” written by the CNN library on November 17th, 2014. As of August 2013, CNN is available to approximately 98,496,000 cable, satellite and telco television households (86% of households with at least one television set) in the United States.

This article is helpful if the reader wants to gain factual knowledge about the activities and events ISIS has been involved in in the way that it shows all the events in chronological order. It also gives information about the leader whose name is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This article states, “Very little is known about al-Baghdadi, but a biography posted on Jihadist websites in 2013 said he earned a doctorate in Islamic studies from a university in Baghdad. He formed the militant group in Salaheddin and Diyala provinces north of the Iraqi capital before joining al Qaeda in Iraq. Al-Baghdadi was detained for four years in Camp Bucca, which was a U.S.-run prison in southern Iraq. He was released in 2009. After ISIS declared the creation of the so-called “Islamic State,” he began using the name Al-Khalifah Ibrahim, and now goes by that name with his followers.” None of the other articles I chose, mention the leader of this group besides this one which is an important piece of the puzzle in the way that this is the person that tells everyone in ISIS what to do as well as if ISIS was to lose their leader they would have less of a chance at succeeding with their goals. Another difference between this article and the last one is the fact that the last one talks more about religion. The last article shows that ISIS seems to be more of a political group rather than religious because they kill their own people too or people of the same faith. Also, this article does not use illustrations to make a point which would be a good asset. Some similarities this article shares with the previous one is that; it’s not trying to argue anything, it shows ISIS in a negative light, and it doesn’t fully explain ISIS side of the story.

The last five facts about the actions of ISIS from this article would include:

October 3, 2014 ISIS releases a video showing the apparent beheading of hostage Alan Henning. It blames the killing on the UK for joining the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In the same video, the group threatens the life of American aid worker Peter Kassig, also known as Abdul-Rahman Kassig.

November 3, 2014The Iraqi government announces ISIS militants have killed 322 members of the Albu Minr tribe in a recent series of executions. According to Sheikh Nabil Al-Ga’oud, a leader in the Albu Minr tribe, the latest of these incidents occurred November 1, in which 75 members of the tribe were killed near the town of Hit.

November 13, 2014 An ISIS social media account posts an audio message purportedly recorded by leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The speaker is heard saying the U.S.-led coalition to destroy ISIS is “terrified, weak and powerless.” The 17-minute audio says the coalition’s effort has been a “failure” and the coalition will be “forced” to “send ground forces to their deaths and destruction.” The speaker also urges Islamic State fighters to take their battle everywhere and “light the Earth with fire upon all tyrants,” and mentions U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to deploy 1,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq “under the claim they are advisers.” CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of the online message or when it was recorded.

November 14, 2014 – The U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria concludes that ISIS has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity,and leaders of the militant group should be held accountable by organizations such as the International Criminal Court.

November 16, 2014 – ISIS militants claim to have beheaded American hostage Peter Kassig in a video published to the Internet.Peter Kassig, also known as Abdul-Rahman Kassig, is the fifth Westerner whom ISIS claims to have beheaded via video messages.


The third article I chose, talks about a young woman who decided to fight in the Syrian Kurdish women’s self-defense force against ISIS- who is trying to seize the town of Kobani and has been since mid September. This young lady left her home when she was 17 to fight and is now 19. She runs into her father on battle grounds and is happy to see he has decided to fight too. They hadn’t seen each other for a long time. The author is not mentioned but this article was a part of a collage of stories regarding ISIS written by the associated press of NBC News. It shows a picture of the two hugging on the battlefield which is sufficient evidence that this occurred. This article shows that ISIS is attacking other Islamic people as well as other races which makes their goal seem more political than religious. This article is the only one out of the ones that I chose that stirs up positive emotions because the title talks about a dad and daughter fighting against ISIS together and finding each other in the midst of all the chaos. In the article the daughter says that seeing her dad fight makes her want to keep fighting but harder.

The fourth article I chose was found on and was published on December 13th, 2014 but does not seem to have an author. NBC News is the news division of the American broadcast network NBC.

The article talks about a man who had a very influential twitter page- @shamiwitness was his username. He had 17,000 followers and 2 million views every month. His name is Mehdi Masroor Biswas, a 24 year old engineer- who admitted to running the pro-isis twitter account. This took place in Southern India.

There is no argument in this article. Police officials in India are still questioning Biswas and trying to figure out if he was more involved with ISIS than just through the virtual world. So far they think he was only active in helping ISIS gain followers through the virtual world. What stands out about this article more than the others I read is the fact that this man was using social media to help ISIS gain followers and was only active through the virtual world as far as we know. This article also stirs up negative emotions in my opinion because Biswas had 17,000 followers and 2 millions views in one month before anyone caught on to what he was doing. That scares me because so many people have seen this page and have done nothing about it until now.


Coll, Steve. “In Search of a Strategy.” The New Yorker, 8 
     Sept. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014. < 

“Dad, Teenage Daughter Reunited by Battle Against ISIS in Kobani.” NBC News, 2 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. 

“India Arrests Man Behind Pro-ISIS Twitter Account @shamiwitness.” NBC News, 13 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. 

Library, CNN. “ISIS Fast Facts.” CNN World. CNN, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 
     2014. <;. 

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