Is the beheading of an American journalist – along with the genocide of Christians and other religious minorities – enough to label the Islamist terror group ISIS as the consummation of evil? According to CNN.com, the answer is really quite complicated.

In fact, James Dawes, director of the program in Human Rights at Macalester College, argued in a piece for CNN’s online arm that “there are few things more dangerous now than allowing ourselves to think” that ISIS does “evil things for evil ends,”as NRO’s Jonah Goldberg phrased it in a tweet earlier this week. Dawes’s assertion is that Americans need to “do the hard work of understanding the context that made them, so that we can create a context that unmakes them.” He added that“understanding” will “help us see the world through their eyes.” [See Goldberg's tweet and excerpts from the piece after the jump.]



Friday’s CBS This Morning dove into the subject of President Obama vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard while events domestically and internationally rage, including the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. While they were the only network to mention this story, the report from CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett and discussion among the hosts afterward did little more than cover for the president.

At the segment's conclusion, co-host Norah O’Donnell compared Obama’s golfing minutes after making a statement about Foley’s murder to former President George W. Bush going golfing after speaking about a suicide bombing in Iraq. O’Donnell observed that: [MP3 audio here; See the video after the jump]



During a press briefing on Wednesday, deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf condemned the beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic terrorists while adding that the threat posed by the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) “is not about the United States and what we do.”

That comment led Associated Press reporter Matt Lee to ask if President Barack Obama's speech the day before -- in which he called for “a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread” --  was a sign that “you’re actually going to do something” about terrorism.



"I don't know why he used the word 'justice.' It's not appropriate here. This is an attack on our country, we have to react to it," an upset Chris Matthews reacted to a video excerpt of President Obama's statement today about the beheading by an ISIS member of American freelance journalist James Foley. 

"This is our country versus this group that's declared war on us. What's justice mean in this con-- I don't know why the word's used, like we're going to go to the World Court with this?!" Matthews sneered to guest Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post Media Group on the August 20 edition of Hardball. Later in the segment, an irate Matthews insisted "no American president can survive if he lets Americans be beheaded on international television with impunity. Impunity! He has to strike back, as an American, it's in our soul!" [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video below the page break]



NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover ISIS's ongoing rampage against non-Muslims in northern Iraq. Chris Jansing filed a full report on the heartbreak for a Yazidi community in Nebraska, who have lost family to the Islamist group's campaign of terror. By contrast, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both found time to air news briefs on the historical gaffe in a photo promoting the new season of PBS's Downton Abbey.

Jansing interviewed several Yazidis for the segment, who detailed the atrocities that ISIS is inflicting on their minority community: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]



As liberal columnist Kirsten Powers recently noted, President Obama is notably reluctant to acknowledge that Iraqi Christians are facing lethal persecution at the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant("ISIL"). Unfortunately, he’s not alone. ABC has been almost completely silent about the religious minorities that ISIL’s self-declared Islamic caliphate is intent on wiping out.

While CBS and NBC have spent time on nearly every broadcast of the morning and evening news shows detailing the immense persecution against Christians, Yazidis and other non-Muslim religious groups in Iraq, ABC has been absent. CBS and NBC mentioned the Yazidi religious sect 34 times while Christians were mentioned 23 times between the two networks in a two-week period. 

Yet ABC identified ISIL’s victims as “Christian” and “Yazidi” in only one Sunday evening news broadcast, Aug. 10. 



On Tuesday Morning, MSNBC and Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart brought a guest on his MSNBC show to discuss the targeted killing and persecution of Christians in Iraq at the hands of the ultra-Islamic terrorist group ISIS. The guest, Mark Arabo, who serves as the national spokesman for the Chaldeans, (the sect of Iraqi Christians facing ISIS’s terror), told Diaz-Balart that the actions of ISIS are that of “a full-blown genocide” in targeting 400,000 Christians in Iraq.

When asked by Diaz-Balart for his take on the actions of the Obama administration so far in Iraq, Arabo said that he and the Iraqi community in Southern California near San Diego (which is the second largest in the country) first “sounded this alarm from San Diego eight weeks ago and we’ve been as clear as we are today: This is a full-blown genocide.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]



In the wake of the U.S. military launching air strikes to combat ISIS militants in northern Iraq, the entire panel on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace had some harsh words for President Obama’s foreign policy.

While the entire panel that appeared on Sunday, August 10 agreed that Obama has mismanaged the threat ISIS poses to the Middle East, Ron Fournier of National Journal had the strongest rebuke of Obama when he charged that “he's been the Commander in Chief or the underestimator in chief.” [See video below.]



Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, had some surprisingly harsh words for the Obama Administration in the wake of the militant group ISIS holding thousands of religious minorities hostage near the northern Iraq city of Irbil. 

Speaking on Meet the Press on Sunday, August 10, Mitchell proclaimed that regarding Isis “there was intelligence. And to say that they were shocked by the Peshmerga on Saturday night being routed is a farce. The White House wasn't listening.” [See video below.]



The Big Three networks steered clear of labeling the Islamist group ISIS "terrorists" on their evening newscasts on Friday. Instead, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News labeled the genocidal radicals "militants." NBC Nightly News used the more benign "rebels" in their coverage of the group's latest attacks on the Kurdish part of Iraq.

The closest that a journalist at ABC, CBS, or NBC got to using the "terrorist" label was Scott Pelley's teaser at the very top of CBS Evening News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]



On Thursday, the al Qaeda spinoff group the Islamic State seized numerous towns in northern Iraq that are home to much of the country’s minority Christian population, sending tens of thousands of them fleeing further into the Kurdish-dominated region to avoid the unforgiving and deadly extremist group. When it came to the major broadcast networks covering this story on their Thursday morning news shows, neither ABC, CBS, or NBC provided their viewers with information on this story.

Meanwhile, CNN and its morning show, New Day, did cover the story with not one but two stories during its three-hour show. First, it aired a full, 3-minute-and-1-second report from CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson at the top of the 6:30 a.m. half hour and then a 21-second news brief during the 8:00 a.m. hour. [MP3 audio here; Video below]



Continuous fear-mongering from the left about the supposed cataclysmic dangers of global warming has always been present, but Slate’s Eric Holthaus has taken things to a whole different level. As Iraq and Syria devolve into chaos, the left-wing publication has blamed climate change for the rise of the al-Qaeda offshoot ISIS.

While the purpose of ISIS – imposing Sharia law on captured territory, ethnically cleansing Shia Muslims, and persecuting other religious groups like Christians – is evident to most of the world community, Slate makes the claim that the radical Sunni group was somehow spurred on by recent drought in the region: