CNN has moved off Malaysian Airlines and Ebola and is going all-in on crazy ISIS coverage.
In the modern cable news landscape, every network has to have a hook. (Not news. Something else.) Fox News took the right wing and MSNBC snagged the left, which left CNN frantically searching for a third, less obvious group achin’ for a panderin’. And eventually they found it — in conspiracy nuts.
CNN found its voice with 24-hour coverage of the Malaysian Airlines disappearance. They refined it with the Ebola scare. And they’re trying to keep that train chugging along with ISIS. It’s going… so-so. No doubt, ISIS is a threat and does horrible things — but there aren’t quite enough breaking developments to fill up the 24-hour news cycle. So that’s when CNN has to get creative.
Here are 11 screenshots from CNN featuring a mix of breathless, ridiculous, over-the-top, erroneous, factually incorrect and otherwise madcap coverage of ISIS.
1 | Kittens and Nutella
ISIS may very well be luring women with cute animals and hazelnut-centric sweets. But there’s something that feels so fluffy and goofy about turning that into a banner headline — especially juxtaposed with the serious images on the screen in the background.
2 | Terror porn
If ISIS videos are porn, how does the news coverage fit into the metaphor? Is it commentary on porn, like you might get at a porn olympics?
3 | The merchandise
Are they decrying the clothes here… or are they showcasing them to hawk them?
4 | The polls
Too many poll results that are perfect for the narrative! Had there been a third, I’m sure it would’ve been jammed on here too; basically, as many large numbers as possible on screen at once.
5 | Two fonts!
I only see what appears to be a slightly modified Helvetica, but maybe I’m missing something.
6 | They’re onto us
Just days ago, ISIS literally went to war with CNN. Maybe it was just part of a more general strike — maybe it wasn’t.
7 | Ebola: The ISIS of Biological Agents
This is perhaps the best of all, a melding of CNN’s top two obsessions in an illogical and sensational way. This would be akin to Fox News saying that Benghazi was the Obamacare of preparation.
8 | Jihadi John
Another case of CNN rushing too fast to get everything straight (much like the “two fonts” graphic) — here they accidentally threw up a photo of Putin instead of a shadowy silhouette of the “Jihadi John” militant. It’s hard to keep track of everyone they’re angry with and why.
9 | Star Wars: More Islamic than ISIS?
This article and video, posted last week, is a shoehorned pop culture reference that makes “Ebola: the ISIS of Biological Agents” seem rational in comparison.
10 | They’re in our homes
This is channeling the classic local news technique — “Five common products in your household are killing your children, stay tuned after weather and sports to find out!” I assume this had to do with ISIS being on the Internet but, in that case, literally every organization in the world, from terrorists to the Grand Forks, North Dakota ages 7-9 soccer league, are reaching into our homes.
11 | Developing Story: Fears of Press Coverage “Provoking Panic” About ISIS Threat