Wizard of OzYesterday on this blog I said that Americans would be wise to look at the Islamic State group’s execution video of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh. Fox News apparently took the same viewpoint and provided a link for viewers who were comfortable with the decision. CNN International executive Tony Maddox, however, took the “Wizard of Oz” approach: “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

Mediaite reported Feb. 4:

“There was absolutely no editorial justification for showing it at all. You could describe what happened, and in describing what happened it is deeply and profoundly disturbing. As we were discussing Michael, you and I unfortunately have had a lot of exposure to these images. And even by that threshold this is just out-and-out appalling. It makes one despair. Nothing can be gained by showing that. And a key criteria is ISIS want us to show it. If ISIS wants you to show something, you should start with the principle ‘How can we avoid doing that?'”

Wrong, Tony. Nothing can be more powerful than witnessing an event first hand. Since CNN viewers can not bend space and time to their will, the next best thing is to see actual video of newsworthy events with world-wide repercussions.

On Sept. 11, 2001 I was scouring different stations for anything I could find on the terrorists attacks. I stopped on a Mexican television station that showed images of men and women jumping to their demise from the World Trade Center Towers. Those images affected in me in ways that no amount of description alone could ever duplicate. To say that “nothing” was gained from that experience would be a lie.

If I sit down with a man and we’re given the exact same amount of information on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — but I am given access to audio and video of the event — my understanding of reality should be the one that is closest to reality.

The ability to see just how barbaric the individuals Western civilization is up against is an invaluable asset, and, ironically, it is given to us by the enemy. Yes, the videos serve as a propaganda too for terrorist groups, but it’s a double-edged sword. The U.S. doesn’t have to go out of its way to make it’s own propaganda because the enemy has already demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is evil.

Mediaite asked after Fox’s decision to link to the videos: “when a terrorist group’s actions are as undeniably horrible as beheadings and burning people alive, do you really need to see it with your own eyes to know it’s despicable?”

In a world with a working moral compass, evidence that the videos exist and that they are real would probably be enough. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the President refuses to call the Islamic State group “Islamic,” the State Department doesn’t want to put “labels” on The Taliban, the Obama administration has called terrorism “man caused disasters,” the Fort Hood shooting was called “workplace violence,” and it was only months ago that said commander in chief was calling Moaz al-Kassasbeh’s future killers a “J.V. team.”

Yes, sadly, watching these videos is precisely what many Americans need to do. They could also watch the 9/11 attacks while they’re at it, since many of them said “Never forget!” … just before they forgot.

While CNN pats itself on the back for segments in which it is seriously put forth that a missing airplane may have fallen into a black hole, Fox is busy showing America the true face of a terrorist organization with global ambitions. Americans should obviously not be forced to look at a man’s last moments as he is burned alive, but the evidence of a terrorist group’s ghoulish atrocities should be readily available for any man who wants to see why eternal vigilance is needed to protect his freedom.

For those of you who prefer your news thoroughly sterilized before you watch it, just remember: “There’s no place like home.”

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

20 comments

  1. I know it’s a movie, but that’s why I thought Schindler’s List was so powerful, it is one thing to read the accounts, and another to get a visual.
    Someone had commented to me that people have always done bad things in the name of religion, and unfortunately with some violent campagins, I can’t argue that my fellow Catholics behaved well as a religion at all times in the past. But at some point, from within the Church we said enough is enough, violence towards others can not define us, and things changed. While I feel awful for the Jordanian pilot’s death, hopefully it will move some within the religion to also say enough is enough.

    1. I know it’s a movie, but that’s why I thought Schindler’s List was so powerful, it is one thing to read the accounts, and another to get a visual.

      Yep. If I’m talking to someone about the Islamic State group and I say a year from now, “These are guys who would burn you alive if they were given a chance,” that guy can say, “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Sure. Whatever, Doug. You’re just exaggerating. The media just says that to drum up fear and anger.” However, if that man watches a video — irrefutable evidence that yes, indeed, the Islamic State sets its victims on fire — that will force him to acknowledge the savage nature of the group.

      I can’t argue that my fellow Catholics behaved well as a religion at all times in the past. But at some point, from within the Church we said enough is enough, violence towards others can not define us, and things changed.

      Agreed. However (and I may have to bust out my history book here), but what a lot of people seem to forget is that the early Crusades were, in many respects, justified responses to Islamic empire-building.

      Heck, even if we fast forward in time to the Ottoman Empire, Christians could often live “in peace” … provided they were relegated to very specific parts of town, paid higher taxes than Muslims, and accepted the fact that certain occupations were simply off limits.

      I am much more inclined to chew out the Catholic Church for its role in Latin America’s dysfunctional history than I am over the early Crusades. Regardless, your point about “enough is enough” is well taken. In some sense I think the Catholic Church’s pendulum has swung too far to the other side, but that’s a different debate.

    2. I was actually thinking of the Inquisition and Protestant split when I was writing that, even the Irish bombings up thru the early/mid nineties; but point well taken about the Crusades and Latin America.

    3. You’ll have to stay tuned for my next blog post. President Obama wanted to lecture Christians on the Crusades today at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. 😉

    4. Actually, Patrick… no. Such a reformation is not possible in Islam… without creating a new religion.

      Unlike in Christianity, where going back to the basics almost requires absolute pacifism of the believer, going back to the fundamentals of the Koran and the Haddith and associated literature only produces EXACTLY the kinds of people that ISIS, Boko Haram, and etc are so much so that those calling to make Islam peaceful, like Egypt’s president… are some of the biggest hypocrites/apostates that ACTUAL Muslims are called to put the fear of Allah (and his messenger) into.

      I.E., such a reformation would be a completely different religion, just like how Mormonism and Jehova’s Witnesses belong to a completely different religion because of their irreconcilable differences with ACTUAL Christianity.

  2. Funny how the people that claim to want to show the truth go out of their way to hide it. It is harder to make something seem less real and dangerous when people get to actually see it for themselves. It may have been hard to watch but no one forced anyone to see it, it was a choice. By CNN standards we should turn our head and ignore things that are not PC, that is the very type of news our liberals live by.

    1. Funny how the people that claim to want to show the truth go out of their way to hide it.

      If I thought that the mainstream media were already trying to give people an accurate picture of what the free world is up against, then the decision to not make the video available would not bother me as much. However, it seems that with every new development networks like CNN try to find the least upsetting version of the news as it pertains to al Qaeda, the Islamic State group, Boko Haram, etc.

  3. Good points. What I find so appalling is that these are journalists and journalists are supposed to be concerned about bringing the truth to people, even when it is graphic and unpleasant. Lately they seem far more concerned about either shaping public perception of Islam in general, defending and protecting the white house, or fearing that they are giving terrorists undue publicity. None of those concerns are journalistic ones, they are all about social engineering, shaping public opinion. It may be idealistic, but in theory the news is supposed to bring us the truth and let the cards fall where they may.

    1. Lately they seem far more concerned about either shaping public perception of Islam in general, defending and protecting the white house, or fearing that they are giving terrorists undue publicity. None of those concerns are journalistic ones, they are all about social engineering, shaping public opinion.

      Agreed. When you couple that with the Obama administration’s refusal to honestly talk about the subject (e.g., “man caused disasters), it becomes a dangerous mix. What happens in Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., will have an effect on us here at home, but the media puts up a kind of smokescreen that a.) shields the public from the fallout of the president’s foreign policy, and b.) downplays the seriousness of what is happening overseas.

  4. I agree, that is the major issue I have. Journalists are shaping truth into the narrative they wish to share. I believe this is having a very bad influence on people when it comes to understanding reality.

    1. It’s a bit like being told to go out in the street, go about your daily lives, but be cautioned to avoid the cracks in the pavement, you notice that the cracks exist, and they bring with it an imperfect imprint, but we’re just told and expected not to try and fix them, to be too fixated on our routine to point out the cracks to someone who, I don’t know, may want to fix them, and in doing so, we inform and encourage the people that want to take the risk. We take a small risk ourselves for asking someone for their trouble, because they may say no, be too busy, or don’t see it as quite the imperfection you may do, but at least you’re taking the time to try and do something about it. If they say yes and fix the crack and then say “oh it was no problem”, you would feel all the better and less silly.

      The cracks in reality are just that…easily slated over given the right interest, risk, and effort, and your contributions to addressing the crack don’t have to be too big, and they don’t have to be too small. Address and inform. Easiest cracks to fill.

  5. The media are perfectly willing to show horrific images when it supports the PC agenda. But anything that contradicts the PC party line has to be swept under the rug. The smartest guy on the planet has assured us that ISIS/ISIL/whatever (which now controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria) is just a junior varsity team. The biggest threat to national security and world peace is a potential 1% increase in global temperatures over the next one hundred years. And anyone who disagrees is simply a racist Tea Party kook who has been watching too much Fox News.

    Fearless Leader did say that “whatever ideology” was behind the execution was morally bankrupt. The “ideology” is right there in the terrorist organization’s name. They don’t call themselves “the Protestant State” or “the Atheist State” or “the Buddhist State.” But The Smartest Guy On the Planet still can’t figure it out. Or, more likely, won’t openly admit it.

    1. Tom, you might want to check out “hampshirehog’s” response. Apparently, you and I and the producers of Fox News are just wannabe Islamic State members who haven’t taken the plunge and made our way to Syria via the proper contacts in Turkey. 😉

  6. What next then? Videos of child rape? What Americans fail to appreciate is that this is NOT free speech, this is an abuse of free speech. And Fox, a far right propaganda station with many of the same views as these criminals, has fallen straight into a trap set by them. (1) The game is to set the narrative the way YOU want it. (Note my use of the word ‘criminals’ rather than ‘terrorists’). (2) Every time the American far-right react – the criminals declare a victory. Too be blunt, it’s very difficult to see which side the American far-right are on.

    1. What next then? Videos of child rape?

      Hampshirehog, do you know about an army of child rapists that control vasts amount of territory in failed or near-failed nation states around the globe, which somehow escapes the rest of us? Does this child rapist army openly declare a desire to bring destruction and terror to the western world? Is it well funded? Will nations go to war over this child rapist ideology? Unless the answer is yes, it appears as though you’re comparing apples to rutabagas.

      What Americans fail to appreciate is that this is NOT free speech, this is an abuse of free speech.

      Fox News giving its viewers the option to see video of a terrorist execution video that may dramatically affect the U.S.-led coalition is an “abuse” of free speech? Really. I suggest you go with that. Maybe you can get a Democratic Congressman to come up with some law that will retroactively jail Fox News producers.

      Fox, a far right propaganda station with many of the same views as these criminals…

      Thank you so much for commenting, hampshirehog. That line is classic. Yes, indeed, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly is so much like the Islamic State group… And sometimes when he gets around to it, Brett Baier takes on sex slaves and burns Jordanian pilots alive.

      It’s always fun when British liberals comment on my blog. I always have a good laugh.

    2. I definitely would rather spend my days chatting with you than hampshirehog. 🙂 However, the more guys like him talk the better it is for conservatism. A man has to be pretty far out on the ideological ledge to say that Fox News talent shares a lot in common with the Islamic State group. I’ve always found it fascinating how conservatives generally just think liberals are naive and quixotic, but liberals tend to think conservatives are evil.

    3. That was supposed to be a sarcastic joke right? There is no way anyone would really believe that dribble.
      Showing something that happened = abuse of free speech?
      When the far right attack = victory..wait what, really how ?
      Right wing = same view as terrorists, really shows a lack of reality perception.
      This has to be a sarcastic joke

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