Media Mashup: November 6, 2015

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Islamic State: It’s Not Your Old Telegram

The Terrorist Research & Analysis Consortium provides some interesting data on the jihad. Unfortunately, the data cost a lot of money, but  TRAC provides a good glimpse to email subscribers for five days.

“Jihadis are continually looking for more effective ways to disseminate their propaganda to a wider audience as Twitter and other social media platforms have become swift at removing jihadi content and suspending accounts. Though some sources have reported that Telegram has been enthusiastically embraced by many militant groups, few know how Telegram is utilized as a secret passage for distributing jihadi propaganda materials, recruitment and most essentially, moving assets.

“Some channels, including the Islamic State’s developing infrastructure, have membership figures that exceed ten thousand in just over a month’s time. Telegram channels are not easy to just ‘stumble upon;’ channel addresses are case sensitive and there is no autofill function to help one search for channels. TRAC has included a cross-section of its 200+ Telegram channel archives — including the actual addresses.

TRAC’s analysis illustrates how Telegram‘s secure environment offers the jihadis a new cyber safe haven and seemingly impenetrable repository for their propaganda materials. TRAC’s report explains how Telegram serves as:

  • a virtual encrypted Hawala system offering new ways to transfer and receive crypto-currency;
  • how channels interact with each other;
  • how the jihadi matrix operates; and
  • a cross section of TRAC archives — including Channel Addresses

Syria: Voters See More U.S. Involvement

Voter confidence in the Obama administration’s fight against the radical Islamic group ISIS is down despite the president’s decision to send a small number of troops to Syria, perhaps because voters strongly suspect that more will soon be on the way.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 26% of Likely U.S. Voters now give the Obama administration good or excellent marks for the way it is handling the radical Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. That’s down 12 points from August of last year when Obama gave a nationally televised speech outlining his plans. Fifty percent (50%) rate the administration’s tactics against ISIS as poor, a 15-point jump from the previous survey.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) favor introducing U.S. troops into the Syrian civil war, but 42% are opposed. One-in-five voters (21%) are undecided.

But 81% consider it likely that this initial deployment will lead to the sending of more U.S. troops to Syria, with 45% who say it is Very Likely. Only 11% think the sending of additional troops is not very or Not At All Likely.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters now believe that Syria is a vital national security interest to the United States, a significant increase from previous findings, but just as many (48%) still think the United States should leave the Syrian situation alone rather than get more involved. Thirty-five percent (35%) think the United States should get more involved in the civil war there while 17% are undecided.

Truth?: The Movie

The Columbia Journalism Review writes: “Truth, a title which, as Stephen Holden pointed out in The New York Times, “should probably be appended with a question mark.

“Starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as his producer, Mary Mapes, the movie recreates the piece from a 60 Minutes spinoff about George W. Bush that blew up in the face of CBS News during the 2004 presidential campaign. After a lengthy outside investigation headed by ex-Republican Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, Rather left the network, Mapes was fired, and three of the news executives they worked with resigned.”

It should be noted that one of those former executives, Betsy West, is the Fred W. Friendly Professor of Professional Practice in Media and Society at Columbia University. I think the post used to be about ethics, but I may be wrong. While the author of the CJR article disclosed his relationship with former CBS people, he didn’t reference the role of Ms. West and the CBS scandal.

Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist, who reported in Europe and the Middle East. He teaches media law and international journalism. Send suggestions and tips to


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