American news has never been more surreal.
CNN’s ‘Newsroom’ show discussed ISIS recruiting women into its ranks yesterday with a bizarre caption at the bottom of the screen proclaiming “ISIS lures women with kittens, Nutella” helpfully accompanied by a banner illustrating their point (just in case you didn’t know what Nutella or kittens looked like).
Meanwhile over on Fox News they took a more dramatic tone, proclaiming “The Holy War Begins”.
From their reports we can only surmise that the coming ‘Holy war’ will comprise of fluffy kittens, chocolate spread, and disturbing emojis …
“ISIS is talking online about jars of Nutella, pictures of kittens and emojis,” said Costello, adding, “they want people to believe their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours. They actually eat Nutella and I guess they have pet kittens.”
The CNN chyron quickly became a meme, with reactions ranging from incredulous to mocking. Max Fisher of Vox.com first tweeted “Oh please we recruited half of our staff with kittens and nutella.”
Oh please we recruited half of our staff with kittens and nutella pic.twitter.com/3w436jAzl3
— Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) February 18, 2015
Later he added:
CNN says ISIS is recruiting with “kittens and nutella.” Fox News announces “The Holy War Begins.” What do you got for us MSNBC. — Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) February 18, 2015
By contrast, journalist Heidi N. Moore praised CNN’s choice of phrase:
Joke as we will, that CNN chyron about kittens and Nutella was genius. That’s how you grab a viewer’s attention on a long-running story.
— Heidi N Moore (@moorehn) February 18, 2015
The contents of the interview did not match the slick packaging, however. Professor Gowrinathan seriously addressed the issue of disenfranchised women flocking to the group she described as “this seventh century ideology that is using 21st century technology.” She added that, “In France they actually found that 45 percent of the people calling the hotline to join ISIS were young women.”
Nothing sweet or cuddly about that.