Building the Mythology of Jihadi John

Ever since the ISIS murderer and propagandist ‘Jihadi John’ was revealed to be a British engineering graduate called Mohammed Emwazi, our news media has been saturated with reports about his school days, his personality, and the possible causes of his radicalisation: he ran into a goalpost as a kid; he went to school with Tulisa
The coverage grates.  Its full of cod-psychological comments from former pupils at his school, noting the fact that he was a ‘loner’.  Reading these quotes, I’m reminded of one of the insights from Serial, the podcast phenomenon about the murder of a Baltimore schoolgirl Hae Min Lee in 1999.  That series makes the point that people are susceptible to a confirmation bias in their memories.  When told that someone is a murderer, people naturally recall those incidents where the person acted weird or like a ‘loner’.  But alternatively, those who are convinced that the convicted person is innocent remember him as friendly and outgoing. Continue reading “Building the Mythology of Jihadi John”

A modest proposal to improve the tabloid press a notch

Alan Hemming has been murdered in Syria. What a disgusting, inhumane act.
Few of us have much faith in the tabloids to show much restraint in these situations.
https://twitter.com/JustinMcKeating/status/518169950675300352
However, Stig Abel, Managing Editor at The Sun, says his paper will not glorify the killing and will instead focus on celebrating the life of a kind and decent man.


Continue reading “A modest proposal to improve the tabloid press a notch”