Fox News has posted a 22 minute video made by Islamic State showing the execution of Jordanian air force pilot Mouath al-Kasaesbeh.
It is the only American media outlet to host the video.
In a statement, the network justified posting the video by saying, “After careful consideration, we decided that giving readers of FoxNews.com the option to see for themselves the barbarity of ISIS outweighed legitimate concerns about the graphic nature of the video.” Fox points out that playing the video online is entirely up to the viewer.
Is Fox playing into the hands of the terrorists who want the video to be seen by as many people as possible? Some terrorism experts think so.
Malcolm Nance, the executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideology thinktank and an expert on counter-terrorism and radical extremism told the Guardian that by posting the video Fox News was propagating “exactly what Isis wants to propagate”.
“The whole value of terror is using the media to spread terror,” he said.
Rick Nelson, a senior associate in homeland security and terrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that posting the video actually empowers Isis.
“They’re a terror organisation,” he said. “They seek to strike terror in the hearts and minds of people globally, and by perpetuating these videos and putting them out there into the internet, it certainly expands the audience and potential effects.”
“These groups need a platform, and this gives them a platform,” he added.
Nance told the Guardian that showing the video would also further endanger other hostages, including the 26-year-old American aid worker currently held by the militant group.
“[Fox News] are literally – literally – working for al-Qaida and Isis’s media arm,” he added.
“They might as well start sending them royalty checks.”
PJ Media will not embed the video on our site, but I have linked to it here. WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO.
I’m sure that many will not want to click through and watch the video. Shep Smith of Fox News watched it and described it in minute detail for viewers.
Smith explains why he thinks it important that viewers be informed about the video:
We’re not going to show you the video, obviously. It’s 23 minutes, plus that video and it shows the terrorists burning a Jordanian military hero alive. I’m going to tell you about it, all of it, every bit of it. I watched it over the last hour, not because I wanted to. I absolutely did not. I watched it because I felt like those of you who want to know what’s going on, but don’t want to watch it or be subjected to some sort of gruesome descriptive adjectives, can get the information.
I was expecting some sort of amateur-hour production like al-Qaeda used to produce — static, bad sound, blurry picture, and laughably amateurish graphics. Instead, the video is Hollywood worthy. Every aspect of it is professional. Impressive graphics, quick cut edits that build pace, and sophisticated sound combine to make a frighteningly slick video.
The execution is only about a third of the video. The rest of the Arabic language production contains stills of wounded men, women, and children, and an indictment of sorts of President Obama and other Middle East leaders.
The execution was stage-managed expertly. The sequence opens with Kasebeh walking alone through some ruins, looking bewildered as he approaches IS fighters in two lines, in uniform, with their faces identically wrapped and standing stock still. It is an impressive sight.
The scene cuts to Kasebeh in a cage, his orange prison jumpsuit drenched in some liquid — presumably gasoline. The Islamic State executioner lights a torch and applies it to a gasoline fuse that slowly makes its way to the cage.
Kasebeh experienced 27 seconds of horrific anguish and pain before falling to his knees.
Are those experts above right? Does posting the video actually help the terrorists? Or by showing the unthinkable death of Mr. Kasebeh, is there propaganda value for our side, too?
It’s hard to put into words how barbaric these people are. But watching a few minutes of this video says more about the enemy than a thousand blog posts or newspaper articles. If the price we have to pay for informing the American people and bringing home the kind of war we are fighting and the kind of animals we are fighting against is the price of a few IS recruits being swayed by the propaganda, it very well may be worth it.