How Western Press Spreads ISIS Propaganda: The Case For a Media Blackout – Adam Johnson

This past weekend, several media outlets ran a story about how ISIS is seeking a nuclear weapon:

ISIS Claims It Could Buy Its First Nuclear Weapon From Pakistan Within a Year [3]

—International Business Times

ISIS to Smuggle Its First Nuclear Weapon From Pakistan, Mulls Attack on US: Report [4]

—Economic Times

ISIS Boasts It ‘Could Buy First Nuclear Weapon in Less Than 12 Months’ [5]

—Daily Mirror

John Cantlie Claims ‘Infinitely’ Greater Threat of Nuclear Attack on US [6]

—The Telegraph

These “reports” are based entirely on a throwaway line from hostage-cum-ISIS spokesperson [7] John Cantlie in an “op-ed” in the  ISIS magazine Dabiq a few days ago. As IBT reported [3]:

“Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table,” [Cantile] continues. “The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilāyah in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region.”

It admits that such a scenario is “far-fetched” but warns: “It’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago.”

This “hypothetical operation” was a “far-fetched” scenario—but the meme, naturally, soon spread to popular right-wing media:

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