Where can I get non-graphic news about ISIS?
August 8, 2014 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Most of the time, I can do the research myself, but I've just defriended a bunch of people and closed browser tabs over ISIS news because of the graphic accounts and photographs of child killings. I'd like to be able to understand what's happening with ISIS in Iraq in more depth than the NYT coverage, but I keep getting the photographs and videos. Please recommend a range of news sources (I'm okay with upfront biases) that aren't explicit on the atrocities.
posted by viggorlijah to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
At a guess: The NYT (as much as I scoff at it) is reporting what's generally verifiable from multiple sources (or at least one U.S. administration source). Anything else is someone with a strong agenda, and those with strong agendas are going to be focused on as much shock value as possible. What you're seeking may not exist.
posted by straw at 1:43 PM on August 8, 2014

I'm easily shaken by things people put on their newsfeed. I've found Rather to be extremely helpful for blocking things that I don't want to see.

You can also use Lynx as a text only browser.
posted by 26.2 at 1:56 PM on August 8, 2014

In Firefox and most other browsers too, you can completely disable loading of images. In Firefox it's going to be under the "Content" tab in the settings, a checkbox "Load images automatically" that you'd want to un-tick. Then, if you select "Re-start with Add-ons Disabled", which shows up under the "Help" menu in mine, that should prevent videos from appearing. (This is also known as "Safe Mode" in Firefox.)

If you know how to use "profiles" in Firefox, you can create a second profile with these settings so that you don't have to check and uncheck things every time you go to read news about ISIS.
posted by XMLicious at 1:57 PM on August 8, 2014

I would see what Foreign Policy magazine or possibly the Economist have written on the matter. They tend to avoid the "if it bleeds, it leads" philosophy. (I have not even following the ISIS story, so this is based more on my general opinions of those sources.)

Reading in Instapaper Text also filters a lot of the embedded video and most pictures.
posted by politikitty at 2:00 PM on August 8, 2014

Gwynne Dyer has been doing foreign correspondance and analysis for most of his career. He's has been writing about events in Iraq lately.

Keeping in mind his sympathies and biases, I find the "War Nerd", Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan) to have an interesting perspective. He's sensationalist and sometimes sloppy, often too sympathetic with his favourites, but he offers an analysis that often leads the headlines. Dolan does a kind of gonzo Dyer, but the analysis comes from a similar place.
posted by bonehead at 2:13 PM on August 8, 2014

The Institute for the Study of War has a blog with daily updates about military activity in Iraq.
posted by Theiform at 2:19 PM on August 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

NPR? No pictures on radio.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:35 PM on August 8, 2014

The Syrian Civil War subreddit pulls info from mainstream news, twitter and locals and flags which links are graphic. They cover IS's Iraq actions as well as the Syrian conflict. Biases are generally clearly stated by posters and noted by others if not.

Brown Moses hasn't been posting much as he's getting a new site off the ground but his work is methodical and he always clearly states his sources.
posted by Blue Meanie at 2:40 PM on August 8, 2014

Al Jazeera America is my go-to for unbiased news these days. I just looked at the Isis story on their homepage and saw no graphic photos.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:32 PM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you use Firefox, you can also block images for a specific site. Just click the lock or globe icon at the left side of the address bar, click the More Information button, then click the permissions tab to get a list of permissions to disable. For these sites, I'd block images and flash, specifically.
posted by Aleyn at 4:06 PM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

In addition to public radio, you could try podcasts. I don't have a particular one in mind, but schools of public policy sometimes have episodes that take a more in-depth look at various topics (especially the elite schools).
posted by Comet Bug at 6:22 PM on August 8, 2014

Seconding drjimmy11's recommendation for Al Jazeera.
posted by seasparrow at 7:15 PM on August 8, 2014

I don't know if Al Jazeera America is the same as the English-language Al Jazeera channel that broadcasts in the UK, but if it is then I wouldn't recommend it as I've found it to be far more graphic in terms of the pictures it shows than the likes of the BBC or CNN.

Nthing the suggestion of radio, particularly the BBC World Service - they generally have very measured, calm but interesting reporting about world events. I have a DAB in my car and often listen to the World Service as an alternative to our domestic BBC radio news. I haven't seen any graphic images on the BBC news website, either.
posted by winterhill at 1:34 AM on August 9, 2014

Al Jazeera America isn't the same as English Al Jazeera in the rest of the world.
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:48 AM on August 9, 2014

War on the Rocks is a good, solid blog about international relations and conflict, associated with the IR school at Kings College, London. They are very devoted to Realism aka realpolitik as a framework for thinking about crises and disagreements between nations. Caliphate Redux is their latest post on this topic.

Related to this is the curmudgeonly cynic, billmon, who only publishes on Twitter these days. I don't always agree with him but I find his principled anger a useful tonic against groupthink. He's anonymous but has a clear background in both journalism and, possibly, government, working in hot spots, and I'd love to see his resume someday.

(Somewhat in the same vein is Karl Sharro aka KarlreMarks, a satirical feed about Middle Eastern politics.) Also, I can recommend Molly Crabapple for her coverage of topics other reporters seem to avoid, such as the indentured servitude in the Gulf States construction industry (she was also recently in Syria). These won't necessarily report daily on things in the IS but I find the context useful and interesting in its own right.

Foreign Affairs is another IR magazine, this one published by the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. You may consider it insightful or conversely too close to the Washington consensus, but they aren't sensational by any means.

FP, you should know, was independent, then published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, but since 2008 has been part of the Washington Post Group (and as such, is now owned by Jeff Bezos). Of more direct interest to your question, today they have a story "How to Take a Picture of a Severed Head" dealing with the specific question of gruesome photography from the IS (it doesn't have any, though).
posted by dhartung at 6:34 PM on August 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the links. I am going to bite the bullet and subscribe to Foreign Policy next time they have a discount sale.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:57 PM on August 18, 2014

Just ran across this: ISIS as Start-Up: Explosive Growth, Highly Disruptive, Super-Evil. Very slick and very unnerving.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:00 AM on August 26, 2014

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