Wednesday, November 18, 2015

ISIS Is Already Winning PR War

ISIS is winning the public relations war in the United States, and they haven't even bombed us yet.

From governors playing to fears from their citizenry about welcoming Syrian refugees, to right-wing websites almost enthusiastically predicting future terroristic events, the one battle that almost never reaches a battlefield or courtroom is being quickly won.

That battle is the PR battle - the fight to control how people think.  And ISIS wants us Americans to shiver in fright and quake in dread of the misery and mayhem they represent.

ISIS wants us to fear them, and fear them completely.  If they can't convert us to their brand of Islam, they want us to suffer for not converting!  They want to destabilize us and subdue us.  They want to undermine whatever religious or political solidarity can still be found in America.  ISIS wants to dominate our consciousness, fill our airwaves, and be relevant no matter the topic.  Sports? ISIS.  Rock music?  ISIS.  Air travel?  ISIS. 

Drones?  The Pope?  Disney?  Oil?  Christmas?  All touched by ISIS, at least according to this afternoon's Drudge Report.

All this frenzy, and ISIS has yet to perpetrate anything concrete on American shores.

It's not like ISIS doesn't like all of this negative attention.  This is what they want.  So far, America's mighty media machine - and, ironically, America's right-wing media machine - is playing right into ISIS' hands.  ISIS wants us second-guessing.  They want us blaming fellow Americans, and contemptuously taunting those fools still self-righteous enough to think welcoming refugees is some sort of goofy humanitarian gesture.

ISIS doesn't want Syria's refugees to enter the United States any more than most conservatives do.  ISIS wants as many people to schlep through these dark days in as much agony as possible.  Sure, to ISIS, we're all infidels worthy of death, but they can't kill all of us.  Yet, anyway.  So why not do the next worse thing, and make as many of us as scared, conflicted, and vulnerable as possible?

While ISIS may have a surprisingly robust budget, and a remarkable ability to recruit soldiers online, they don't yet have the worldwide network of operatives and jihadis to efficiently foment large-scale panic.  So they've taken the liberty of letting hawkish right-wingers do some of that job for them.  And of course, it helps when the arch-enemies of conservatives, those flaky liberal patsies, have nothing but a stale old "compassion" argument to keep chirping into the gale of hysteria over refugees.  There's nothing that stokes one's indignation quite like being told you're too hard-hearted to think of the plight innocent Syrian civilians are facing.

Of course, for many conservatives, being "hard-hearted" is considered a badge of honor.  But we ain't seen nothin' yet when it comes to hearts being hard.

And that, my fellow Americans, is what ISIS is banking on.

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