Those cunning, crafty terrorists. According to a segment this morning on “CNN Newsroom,” ISIS–known for brutal and horrific murders as it expands its territory–is adopting a kinder, gentler PR campaign in an effort to lure women.
CNN’s Carol Costello told viewers “the recruitment of young women to its ranks has become increasingly important to (ISIS), and among the most highly sought-after targets: Western women.” While many have reported an unprecedented flow of jihadists joining the Islamic State from around the world, eager to bring about apocalypse, it seems Western women need a little extra encouragement.
“How do you relay your message of jihad in a way Westerners understand,” Costello asked. Well, you jump on social media and get cozy, viewers were informed. “ISIS is talking online about jars of Nutella, pictures of kittens and emojis,” said Costello. “They want people to believe their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours. They actually eat Nutella, and I guess they have pet kittens.”
What followed was a conversation with an expert about the existence of female ISIS fighters, but not much about how kittens, emoji and even the delightful wonderfulness that is Nutella could bring about a Western woman’s conversion to a life committed to ushering in the end of the world.
Free advice for CNN segment producers: even if the segment was about how ISIS was adopting a Western style approach to social media to seem less threatening and ultimately lure recruits (which it wasn’t), avoid screen-grabbable-and-meme-ready graphics like the above, which distract from the discussion, rather than inform it. Far more people have seen that graphic online–free of context–than watched the segment, and for them, it’s been nothing but a lure for people to crack jokes. Just a thought.