After Fox News became the only major broadcaster to carry the full uncensored video of the Jordanian pilot being burned to death, terror expert Malcolm Nance accused the network of “literally working for ISIS”.
The video, which features the chillingly cinematic and brutal execution of Muadh al-Kasasbeh, was not carried by any other network and copies of it uploaded to YouTube and other video sharing websites were almost instantly deleted.
However, Fox News is hosting the full 22 minute video on its website above the words, “warning, extremely graphic video”.
“[Fox News] are literally – literally – working for al-Qaida and Isis’ media arm,” Nance, the executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideology think tank, told the Guardian.
“They’re a terror organisation. 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,” he added, accusing Fox News of providing ISIS with a “platform”.
“They might as well start sending them royalty checks,” quipped Nance.
It’s interesting to note that media coverage of ISIS executions had been scaled back significantly before the burning of the Jordanian pilot, with a sense of “beheading fatigue” creeping into press coverage.
“Burning him alive also would be something new that would attract more media coverage, which is the goal of many terrorist attacks,” said James Phillips, senior research fellow in Middle Eastern affairs at The Heritage Foundation.
It seems very likely that ISIS’ sophisticated media arm saw the brutal new method of execution as a way of recapturing western media attention – despite the fact that burning people is specifically forbidden under Islam.
Given the controversy surrounding Fox News’ decision to host the video, it’s also interesting to recall last year’s warning from British police that people who merely watched ISIS propaganda videos, for whatever reason, could face arrest under anti-terror laws.