PLEDGE NOW
The ISIS Social Media Attack

Another beheading claim and ISIS’s use of social media in its grab for power.

This still image from an undated video released by Islamic State militants on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, purports to show journalist Steven Sotloff being held by the militant group. The Islamic State group has threatened to kill Sotloff if the United States doesn't stop its strikes against them in Iraq. Video released Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2014, purports to show Sotloff's murder by the same rebel group. (AP)

This still image from an undated video released by Islamic State militants on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, purports to show journalist Steven Sotloff being held by the militant group. The Islamic State group has threatened to kill Sotloff if the United States doesn’t stop its strikes against them in Iraq. Video released Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2014, purports to show Sotloff’s murder by the same rebel group. (AP)

Another beheading of an American journalist by ISIS.  Steven Sotloff, 31.  The orange outfit.  The killer in black.  The desert.  The knife.  It’s hideous, stomach-turning.  Beyond infuriating.  And it’s on the web.  Social media.  This summer, ISIS has rampaged across the desert, taking turf, claiming a “caliphate,” slaughtering.  It has also rampaged across social media.  Using the platforms that lifted pro-democracy forces in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, this time to raise a reign of terror.  This hour On Point:  the ISIS onslaught, and the use of social media in its bloody grab for power.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Scott Shane, national security reporter for the New York Times. (@ScottShaneNYT)

Zeynep Tufekci, professor in the school of information and library science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Faculty associate at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society. (@zeynep)

Patrick Skinner, director of special projects for the Soufan Group. Former CIA Case Officer. (@SkinnerPm)

John Arquilla, professor and chair of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Author of “Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military” and “Insurgents, Raiders and Bandits.”

From Tom’s Reading List

BBC News: Steven Sotloff: Islamic State ‘kills US hostage’ — “An Islamic State video has appeared which purports to show the beheading of Steven Sotloff, a US journalist being held hostage by the militants.Mr Sotloff, 31, disappeared in Syria in 2013. He appeared at the end of a video last month which showed fellow US journalist James Foley being killed.”

New York Times:  ISIS Displaying a Deft Command of Varied Media — “The extremists who have seized large parts of Syria and Iraq have riveted the world’s attention with their military prowess and unrestrained brutality. But Western intelligence services are also worried about their extraordinary command of seemingly less lethal weapons: state-of-the-art videos, ground images shot from drones and multilingual Twitter messages.”

The Daily Beast: ISIS is Using Social Media to Reach YOU, Its New Audience — “The migration from Internet chat forums to social media platforms came late to jihadists, but they’ve adapted skillfully. A strategy developed over years has evolved into a sophisticated campaign and now, at the center of the world’s attention, ISIS is using its skill to communicate directly to an American audience.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 27, 2015
Two persons are reflected in the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into FIFA's awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, only hours after seven soccer officials were arrested Wednesday pending extradition to the U.S. in a separate probe of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption. (AP)

Top officials at soccer’s international governing body FIFA arrested in Switzerland today on charges of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. We’ll dig in.

May 27, 2015
The logo from the new film, "(Dis)Honesty," which is also the logo for the Dishonesty Project. (The Dishonesty Project)

Are we natural born liars? Is it human to lie? Inside the new documentary, ” (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies.”

RECENT
SHOWS
May 26, 2015
The saola is an exceedingly rare mammal found in the mountains of Southeast Asia. (Wikicommons)

Endangered species and the search for one of the world’s rarest creatures deep into the wilds of central Laos.

 
May 26, 2015
Blogger and activist Pamela Geller speaks at a conference she organized entitled “Stop Islamization of America,” in New York on Sept. 11, 2012. (AP)

Two new books on free speech–one by a former New York Times correspondent, the other a Fox News contributor. They don’t see eye to eye—and tell us why.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment