‘Media saturation’ is helping Daesh find recruits: Obama

Published December 21st, 2015 - 05:34 GMT
New Daesh recruits participate in a training exercise. (AFP/File)
New Daesh recruits participate in a training exercise. (AFP/File)

President Barack Obama told NPR that the media attention paid to the massacre in Paris in November and the attack in San Bernardino are amplifying the Islamic State's (Daesh) power and helping it recruit.

In the interview that was broadcast on Monday, Obama said that although the Islamic State has created a "serious situation," the American people need to "recognize that the power, the strength of the United States and its allies are not threatened by an organization like" the Islamic State.

The president said domestic discussion has been dominated by the Islamic State since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

"Well, I think what's fair is that post-Paris you had a saturation of news about the horrible attack there," Obama said. "And ISIL combines viciousness with very savvy media operations. And as a consequence, if you've been watching television for the last month, all you have been seeing, all you have been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you."

Obama said fears about the Islamic State that "amplify their power and the threat that they pose" help the militant Islamist organization recruit.

"Look, the media is pursuing ratings. This is a legitimate news story. I think that, you know, it's up to the media to make a determination about how they want to cover things," Obama said. "There is no doubt that the actions of ISIL are designed to amplify their power and the threat that they pose. That helps them recruit, that adds in the twisted thoughts of some young person that they might want to have carry out an action, that somehow they're part of a larger movement. And so I think that the American people absorb that, understandably are of concern."

Obama also criticized Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president, for exploiting the "anger, frustration, fear" of "blue-collar men" who are struggling in an economy where "wages and incomes have been flatlining for some time."

By Andrew V. Pestano

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