the fact that i have no idea what he’s talking about with all these outmoded fads, actually proves his point

State Dept: Let’s Fight ISIS With the #TeeVee
Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well (Blog|), Mar 29 2016


Your State Dept loves loves loves #socialmedia. They will use it now to defeat ISIS, maybe also the Taliban, by making a #TeeVee show for Afghans saying ISIS, and maybe the Taliban, is bad. It will only cost $1.5m of your taxpayer dineros, so be sure to pay the IRS on time this year. To understand this, you need to understand the State Dept. The Dept is made up of a few old people in senior positions, and lots of young people (“millennials.”) Think of the old people as your sad, old dad after a divorce, bugging you to explain to him stuff like Tindr and Molly that wasn’t around when he was “dating” but now suddenly seems like something he needs to “get down with.” So that’s what happens inside State. Old people are told to stop ISIS somehow. They ask the young staffers about this social media gadget they read about in AARP magazine and the young people, none of whom have a rat’s butt worth of overseas knowledge but have lived their whole lives within a media bubble, tells the olds :

Let’s do something social media, or make a TV thing we can show on YouTube. We’ll get, like, seriously, a zillion hits. Anti-ISIS will go, literally, viral, you know.

The State Dept old people will not understand any of that, but it will brief well when they talk to their even older bosses, and BOOM! policy is made. And the great thing is that no one else has figured out how to defeat ISIS, so when this latest venture fails, no one will be too upset with State. But back to the details of this latest innovation. The day after the attacks in Brussels (timing is everything), the State Dept posted a $1.5m grant proposal:

To develop a television drama series that addresses the issue of countering violent extremism among young people in contemporary Afghan society. This grant will fund the development and broadcast of a television drama series in which young people grapple with everyday frustrations and lack of opportunity, while growing and learning through new experiences. The drama will be grounded in reality but will also contain compelling creative content (i.e. storytelling, resonant narratives, strong characters, sophisticated production, etc.). In short, it will strive to be entertaining while challenging viewers to engage in critical thinking by placing characters in situations where they are faced with a choice: support universal values of tolerance and peace or be drawn into the dark world of extremism. The characters will be aspirational and will provide positive role models for young people facing similar dilemmas. The program will be amplified through social media and other means.

The same day the State Dept dove into the soap opera business, Hillary Clinton said at Stanford University:

Beating ISIS means waging online battles with extremists. To discredit their ideology, expose their lies and counter their appeals to potential recruits in the West and around the world.

OK, sure. This is the same State Dept that spent $630k of your money buying “likes” for its own Facebook pages. Or dropped an unspecified amount making Gangnam video tributes when that was a thing. The overall problem with these ventures is that the State Dept believes at its core that most/all young Muslims are simply sold on Jihad as if it was just another clever online meme, or maybe a product. Why, if that is the case, one can simply make a better Tweet, a cooler hashtag or a better commercial, and everything will be better. See, it’s the medium, not the message. In essence, instead of seeing young Muslims reacting to the Pindosi destruction around them with deeply held feelings, State thinks they are just as shallow and empty-headed as its own staff.

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