Tuesday, September 02, 2014

AC360 and CNN Tonight (Don Lemon) give pointed coverage of North Korea, ISIS news with panel discussions


Although I’ve tried to emphasize distinct shows and episodes on this blog, tonight’s news coverage on CNN by Anderson Cooper (AC360) and Don Lemon (CNN Tonight) deserves a post, first for the month.
Anderson Cooper presented a report on Matthew Todd Miller, the youngest captive of the three being interviewed in North Korea.  The 24-year-old is from Bakersfield CA, and the family has refused to talk to reporters, and asked others not to.   CNN indicated that Miller did not have his quasi-British accent when he left home.  He had arranged a tour with the DPRK with a company called Uri, which can only so far in vetting its customers.  (Sounds like “Section 230” doesn’t it.)  It’s unclear why Miller tore up his visa. 
  
“CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon, presented the same panel as last week, with Pamela Brown to help interview, covering apparently a second beheading, this time of journalist Steven Sotloff, who had been in Syria. The four panelists were the same:  former jihadist Mubi Shaikh, professor Mia Bloom, and Paul Cuickshank, and then Robert Baer.  Shaikh discussed how to counter recruitment of disaffected youth to extremist causes, and suggested “trusted intermediaries” and “subject matter experts”.   
  
 The perpetrator said “I’m back, Obama” in the video (main CNN story).  Of course, what is disturbing is that the enemy will use non-combatant hostages, in the case overseas conflict journalist or aid workers, to pretend to “negotiate” with the president.  One could look back in history and remember the time of the hostages in Iran.   The state department warns Americans against travel in almost all conflict areas or in countries with serious drug trafficking cartels (now including Central America and Mexico).   The worst case or most brazen possible scenario could be an abduction, by a sleeper cell, actually on the soil of a western country, which would be much easier to meet with a swat team and law enforcement.  

The panel on CNN even considered whether there should be a media brownout on covering the executions, so as not to inspire more of these psychopathic incidents.  The videos get put on social media and go viral (in the community of disaffected youth who are targets for recruitment  (before the hosting companies can find them and take them down under TOS violations.

Because of inherent asymmetry, social media is working both ways, allowing an Arab spring, but also giving credence to incredibly psychopathic behavior overseas. 

Later tonight, Lemon presented a report from the Minnesota State Fair, which I used to attend (even manning the LPMN booth), of a group of Somali youths from a group called "Ka Joog", meaning, "To stay away".  

AC360 and CNN Tonight tend to be slow to put up that day’s content online. 

Later, CNN said that reporters withheld the fact that Sotloff was Jewish. 
   
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Ar-Raqqah, Syria, effectively the “capital” of the unrecognized state of ISIL.   It’s an important place in Biblical times.  It’s not on my travel list.  

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