Liberal Columnist Opinion, Mason Speaks, Uncategorized

Liberal Columnist Opinion: ISIS

Hau Chu is the Editor-in-Chief of Fourth Estate and Liberal Columnist of MasonVotes.

I wanted to have a discussion about the crisis in the national sphere and the role that the media is playing in perpetuating this weird, unhealthy state of fear.

The one that I feel is causing an unnecessary amount of fear are the threat of the Islamic State — IS/ISIS/ISIL/ — approaching American soil.

Of course, I acknowledge that the core of the issue is a real geopolitical concern with relevant reasons for concerns within the region. What bothers me is the portrayal of the crisis by the media and public figures as some imminent threat to the United States, as opposed to something that can be dealt with in a reasoned, measured approach where we all maintain a basic awareness competency.

On ISIS, CNN conducted a poll that resulted in this lede to their story,

“Americans are increasingly concerned that ISIS represents a direct terror threat, fearful that ISIS agents are living in the United States. Most now support military action against the terrorist group.”

The media monitoring service, TVEyes, took a count of CNN coverage alone from Aug. 26 – Sept. 9 where the word ‘ISIS’ was uttered over 3,800 times. Clearly, the channel found its topic du jour and did its part on acting as a fear-mongering machine.

It is not only the media cycle that is making sure everyone knows of the imminent threat of ISIS on American values, but also we can for sure count on politicians to drive up fervor for warfare.

Good ol’ boy, Rick Perry, governor of Texas, unrelatedly added on to the public CNN poll/dumpster fire idea that ISIS agents have already breached American borders.

“There’s the obvious great concern that because of the condition of the border, from the standpoint of it not being secure and us not knowing who is penetrating across, that individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be,” Perry said. “I think it’s a very real possibility that they may have already used that.”

I’m sorry, I thought I was transported back to 2003-era Iraq War propaganda times for a second there, maybe it’s just dim-witted Texas governors that have that effect. That last quote and media word count could easily have had a find and replace of ‘ISIS’ with ‘Taliban.’

In fact, a 2013 Gallup poll resulted in a story that led with this sentence, “Ten years have passed since the United States and its allies invaded Iraq, and it appears the majority of Americans consider this a regrettable anniversary.”

Fifty-three percent of Americans believe their country “made a mistake sending troops to fight in Iraq” and 42% say it was not a mistake.”

I really don’t want to discredit those who are concerned about the ISIS threat, but to hypothesize that ISIS agents are now embedded in the United States and using the argument of ‘you can’t say they’re not’ as your defense is absurd.

I think I get the other side of this issue where there’s still the feeling that the United States has to always remain the paragon of freedom, so we should use our considerable resources to enforce our values. But with that comes the hubris that we know what’s best for every single situation outside of our scope.

It was evident in Iraq that we didn’t, and we still don’t know the answers for every geopolitical crisis. It is better for us to try and support the efforts already ongoing from forces that have been in the thick of the conflict, rather than try to impose our will with no foreseeable end in sight.

There are ways to address this issue — some might say it would’ve been worthwhile to explore some of these avenues sooner, so we wouldn’t be in as big of a mess — but to get all hot and bothered now about this crisis because the media and politicians are drilling it in your brain seems silly to me.

Hau Chu is the Editor-in-Chief of Fourth Estate and Liberal Columnist of MasonVotes.

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