Sorry about the rather depressing title for this particular blog post, but it’s a line taken from the recent always excellent Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, which began with a rather cutting analysis of ISIS and the media. The rest of the show is also hilarious, as we all have now come to expect. Below is a link to the latest Wipe, followed by a transcript of some of the ISIS analysis. Enjoy!
Charlie Brooker: We start with ISIS…
BBC News reporter: “Tonight at 10, outrage in Jordan as one of its pilots is burned to death by IS extremists…”
Charlie Brooker: It feels like ISIS is engaged in a kind of sickening game of one-downsmanship with itself, daring itself to produce something more barbaric than the last killing. It’s hard to know really how to even wrap your head around this level of horror, coupled with its total accessibility. Not so long ago we had to fall asleep to experience nightmares. We now live in a world where, at any moment, your phone could buzz in your pocket and it might be someone tweeting a photo of their lunch, or a video of someone dying in agony. Then there’s the question of whether to look or not to look. Spoiler – the sane answer is “not to look”, which isn’t made easy for you. The numb and frightened faces of the victims appear on the front pages of newspapers and in search results. It becomes unavoidable. Not that everyone tries to avoid it. In the Daily Mail, Piers Morgan claimed he was “glad” he watched the video depicting a caged man being burned to death because it helped him understand how evil ISIS can be, which betrays an ASTOUNDING lack of imagination. Fox News meanwhile broadcast an exhaustive spoken word moment-by-moment description of the video from host Shepherd Smith, who watched it so you wouldn’t have to, which you didn’t have to anyway.
Shepherd Smith: We’re not going to show you the video obviously. It’s 23 minutes plus, that video.
Charlie Brooker: And you’ve got to cut to commercials in ten minutes!
Shepherd Smith: I’m going to tell you about it, all of it, every bit of it.
Charlie Brooker: Fox also garnered much criticism for embedding the entire video, uncensored, on their website. It tells you something about America’s stomach for violence really, that while a terrorist snuff video can be carried uncensored, an innocuous report about a nudist beach on the same website comers with black boxes super imposed over the buttocks. Because it’s important to confront the reality of murder, but oh my BLEEP we can’t handle a bum! If ISIS ever started killing people in the nude, Fox is going to have a real editorial dilemma on its hands. Of course, TV news is helplessly, institutionally addicted to relaying eye-popping imagery wherever it comes from and whatever it shows, as this shocking footage of the recent Taiwan air disaster makes clear. As a consequence, the slickly-crafted video output of ISIS has effectively turned swathes of the Western media into an unofficial jihadist propaganda distribution network. It all conspires to make you feel absolutely helpless.
– from Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, first shown 12 Feb 2015