Only US network to feature graphic video showing Muadh al-Kasasbeh burning to death. Twitter accounts associated with Isis supporters are sharing video via links to Fox News
Fox News has chosen to embed on its website the video of Islamic State burning a hostage to death, a move which makes them the only US media organisation to broadcast the video in full.
The extremely graphic 22-minute video shows Muadh al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, being set on fire and burned to death in a cage. Fox News did not post the videos of the killings of previous Isis hostages, and no other media company has hosted this video.
In a statement, the network said: “After careful consideration, we decided that giving readers of FoxNews.com the option to see for themselves the barbarity of ISIS outweighed legitimate concerns about the graphic nature of the video. Online users can choose to view or not view this disturbing content.”
On Twitter, accounts associated with Isis supporters are sharing the video via the links to the Fox News site. One account, which regularly posts pro-Isis slogans and updates about Islamic State ‘victories’ in battle, tweeted boastfully that “Whoever is looking for the al-Furqan version [of the video], here it is and it cannot be deleted because it is on an American network.” Al-Furqan is Isis’ media outlet.
YouTube removed a link to the video a few hours after it was posted, and a spokesperson for Facebook told the Guardian that if anyone posted the video to the social networking site it would be taken down.
Several news organizations used still images from the video in their news stories both in print and online – including the Daily Mail, the New York Daily News and the New York Post, which also used an image of Kasasbeh on fire for the front page of their evening edition.
The television network’s decision to host the footage drew criticism from terrorism analysts.
Malcolm Nance, the executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideology thinktank and an expert on counter-terrorism and radical extremism told the Guardian that by posting the video Fox News was propagating “exactly what Isis wants to propagate”.
“The whole value of terror is using the media to spread terror,” he said.
Rick Nelson, a senior associate in homeland security and terrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that posting the video actually empowers Isis.
“They’re a terror organisation,” he said. “They seek to strike terror in the hearts and minds of people globally, and by perpetuating these videos and putting them out there into the internet, it certainly expands the audience and potential effects.”
“These groups need a platform, and this gives them a platform,” he added.
Nance told the Guardian that showing the video would also further endanger other hostages, including the 26-year-old American aid worker currently held by the militant group.
“[Fox News] are literally – literally – working for al-Qaida and Isis’s media arm,” he added.
“They might as well start sending them royalty checks.”