ISIS attempting to show ‘softer, gentler’ side in new video, says media scholar at University of Toronto

A propaganda video released this week showing a U.K. hostage acting as a news reporter for ISIS is a sign that the extremist group may be shifting its media strategy.

The video, released Monday, features a man who identifies himself as John Cantlie, the British photojournalist who was kidnapped by ISIS militants in northern Syria two years ago…

…With its aerial shots, graphics and animations, the video marks a visual departure from previously released ISIS propaganda – the most infamous of which feature the beheadings of American and British citizens.

Jeffrey Dvorkin, Director of the University of Toronto’s journalism program, told CTV News Channel that the Cantlie video may be a sign that ISIS is adopting a new recruitment strategy.

“The old tactics of beheadings really horrified a lot of people, and there may be a sense that the violence that ISIS is proclaiming may not be the best recruiting tactic,” he said. “So they may be switching to another way to attract people.

“It’s hard to imagine a ‘kinder, gentler’ ISIS, but that seems to be what they’re trying to do”…

I guess Dvorkin is not reading the news very carefully — despite being with the journalism program. The Syria Observatory for Human Rights has been reporting a steady stream of ruthless violence, including beheadings. The victims are not Westerners, so they must have escaped his attention. How does the journalism prof get his news? CNN?

Just three days ago, four Kurds were beheaded in public in Syria. Islamic State has been very busy indeed and the results are not pretty.

The Long War Journal, who are following the situation closely, believe that Cantlie is being used to rebut Western and Kurdish claims of success against Islamic State.

The video was posted on YouTube but removed. A few scenes can be scene from this Reuters clip: