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ISIS Is Winning The Internet Game47:30
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With guest host Jane Clayson.

A big, provocative look at the sophisticated online efforts of ISIS to recruit and lure Westerners to their cause.

This file image taken from a militant website associated with Islamic State extremists, posted Saturday, May 23, 2015, purports to show a suicide bomber, with the Arabic bar below reading: "Urgent: The heroic martyr Abu Amer al-Najdi, the attacker of the (Shiite) temple in Qatif", which the Islamic State group's radio station claimed responsibility for. (AP)
This file image taken from a militant website associated with Islamic State extremists, posted Saturday, May 23, 2015, purports to show a suicide bomber, with the Arabic bar below reading: "Urgent: The heroic martyr Abu Amer al-Najdi, the attacker of the (Shiite) temple in Qatif", which the Islamic State group's radio station claimed responsibility for. (AP)

The so-called Islamic State – ISIS – celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. A large part of its growth has happened online. It has a sophisticated propaganda machine, with tens of thousands of accounts spreading its messages. And those messages are reaching Westerners, Americans. We’ll talk to a reporter who tracked the radicalization of Alex, a 23-year-old Sunday school teacher and babysitter. And we’ll hear from the former State Department head tasked with countering ISIS’ online propaganda. This hour On Point: Alex’s story, and the ISIS online propaganda strategy.
-- Jane Clayson

Guests

Donna Leinwand Leger, crime, terrorism, disaster and breaking news reporter for USA Today. (@donnaleinwand)

Rukmini Callimachi, foreign correspondent for the New York Times. (@rcallimachi)

Alberto Fernandez, vice president of the Middle East Media Research Institute. Former coordinator for the US State Departments' Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications and former ambassador to Equatorial Guinea. (@VPAFernandez)

From The Reading List

USA Today: Security intensified as July 4th weekend nears — "Federal and local authorities are stepping up security over the Fourth of July following a bulletin by theDepartment of Homeland Security and FBI regarding ongoing attack threats by the Islamic State and other homegrown extremists."

New York Times: ISIS and the Lonely Young American — "Alex, a 23-year-old Sunday school teacher and babysitter, was trembling with excitement the day she told her Twitter followers that she had converted to Islam. For months, she had been growing closer to a new group of friends online — the most attentive she had ever had — who were teaching her what it meant to be a Muslim. Increasingly, they were telling her about the Islamic State and how the group was building a homeland in Syria and Iraq where the holy could live according to God’s law."

CBS News: ​Flaws seen in U.S. approach to ISIS propaganda — "'There is a fantasy which exists in Washington, which is this,' Ambassador Fernandez argues. 'Somehow if you put magic social media or public diplomacy pixie dust on a problem, it will go away.' His staff of fifty workers struggled to compete against ISIS' virtual online army which posts videos and messages from as many as 90,000 twitter accounts around the world. Despite being outnumbered, Fernandez thinks that the social media space is too valuable to abandon."

This program aired on July 2, 2015.

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