Fox News Exec Explains Decision to Publish ISIS Execution Video; Fends Off Critics
We spoke by phone Wednesday afternoon with Fox News EVP John Moody, who further explained the network’s decision to post the full, unedited footage of Muath al-Kasaesbeh‘s immolation death at the hands of ISIS jihadists.
See below for our brief Q&A:
So what prompted the decision to post this horrific video?
Well, this is a moment unlike others that we’ve seen associated with ISIS. The barbarity has always been well-established but this is something that has already been and will continue to be a galvanizing moment for the Kingdom of Jordan. People have asked, since 9/11, where are the moderate Muslims when it comes to condemning and fighting global terror. And the King of Jordan is showing, through his bravery and actions, that it’s right there.
The video drew immediate response from the kingdom and it’ll be a moment seen forever as a turning point. We felt it important for people to understand the barbaric acts that took place.
No major media outlet published video of, say, ISIS beheading James Foley or other captives. So why this one?
I’m not going to compare two deaths under any circumstances. As we’ve seen from the news reports out of Amman [capital of Jordan], this — more than the previous acts of ISIS — has profoundly touched the Muslim world as well as the West. I’m not saying that this video we saw yesterday was the only one required for moderates to see to take action, but I think it was a point that will never be forgotten in a relatively small kingdom.
Like I said before, since 9/11, many people in the West and the U.S. have asked where the Muslims are who condemn this. And all you have to do is look at the footage [from protests in Amman] and you see where they are now.
Fox was also the only cable network to air Charlie Hebdo‘s first post-attack cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed. Do you find that Fox is taking a leadership role in airing news items that many outlets typically resist airing?
Well, there’s a key distinction: We decided to show the cover of Hebdo because it was something that was at the center of the attacks by terrorists. It was not something we aired for sensationalism or to be, quote, “different.” It was because it was a central part of the story that everyone around the world was telling.
Now with this video, this act of total sub-human conduct we saw yesterday cannot possibly be fathomed, I think, without some understanding of what actually took place.
And so we linked to the video so that someone who wanted to know how low people can sink could have some idea now. I think that’s important.
One major criticism of anyone choosing to air the video or still images is that it is giving ISIS what they wanted because the footage is actually a piece of propaganda. How do you address that criticism?
I don’t think anyone has ever accused Fox News of being pro-terrorism in our coverage. I understand there are people who hold that opinion, and they have that right. But I really cannot imagine the person who would look at this video and come away admiring ISIS.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org