White House: ISIL fight is a ‘war of narratives’

by WorldTribune Staff, September 20, 2016

After a weekend in which terrorists used bombs and knives to attack Americans, White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Sept. 19 said the U.S. is in a “narrative battle” with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

During an appearance on CNN’s New Day to discuss the terrorist bombings in New York and New Jersey, Earnest also cautioned against painting with a “broad brush” regarding terrorism and Islam.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest
White House press secretary Josh Earnest

“When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight, a narrative fight with them, a narrative battle, and what ISIL wants to do is they want to project that they are an organization that is representing Islam in a fight and a war against the West, and a war against the United States,” he said. “That is a bankrupt, false narrative. It’s a mythology, and we have made progress in debunking that mythology.”

The White House itself continues to refuse to use the terms “militant Islam” or “Islamic terrorism”.

“We can’t play into this narrative that somehow the United States or the West is fighting against the Muslim religion,” Earnest said. “The fact is there are millions of patriotic Muslims in this country right now that make our country proud. They serve in our armed services. They serve in our law enforcement … These are individuals who make a substantial and positive contribution to our country, and that is an inconvenient fact for the ISIL narrative.”

While CNN and MSNBC weren’t expected to challenge Earnest’s comments in any way, Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum did:

“You mentioned earlier today you believe it’s a narrative battle we’re fighting,” MacCallum said in an interview with Earnest. “I think that for people who have shrapnel in their shoulders this morning — they might have a hard time accepting that — that it is a narrative battle we’re fighting against ISIL. Explain what you meant by that?”

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