When I heard the news over the weekend that Boko Haram had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), I decided to watch one of the network news programs at 6.30pm to see what they had to say on this development.
As it turns out, nothing was said. The news program I watched led on Selma (again) and Ferguson (again, again) and Hillary Clinton’s emails (surprise! surprise! Corruption from a Clinton! Y.A.W.N.). Following those three stories, there was a brief segment on Jeb Bush running for president.
Arguably, Boko Haram’s signing up to the Islamic State will have greater impact than any of the other news items.
A few weeks ago, IS was confined to Iraq and Syria. Then the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan opted to join the caliphate. Libya was the next addition, not the whole country but the extremists operating there. Now, with Boko Haram in Nigeria, Niger and Chad, they are rapidly becoming a major global force.
It’s not surprising the West is still asleep when our media focus is so myopic.
The media is also manipulative. A great deal of attention is now being given to a young African-American teenager who was shot by police in Madison, Wisconsin.
The death of any young person is a tragedy, no matter what the circumstances. Ten days ago, a 17-year-old male was shot dead by police a few miles from our home. It did not make the national news, likely because he was white. The media sure likes to stir things up, especially when it comes to race.
Perhaps this is why little attention is given to the growing threat from ISIS. As we are constantly being assured that Islam is a religion of peace, little attention will be given to news that brings this into question.
Yet the fact remains, while we obsess about our own internal problems, there is a growing external threat that we ignore at our peril.