CNN becomes @voxdotcom

costello nutella

One of the mysteries of the ISIS movement is the attraction it has for some Western women. I wrote about this earlier (here) and now another case has arisen where is seems as though three British girls may have run off to fulfill their dreams of being sex slaves. The one thing we know for sure, jobs and midnight basketball would not have prevented it.  Now, thankfully, the brains at CNN have turned their attention to the problem and with the same  skill and preserverance shown by Matt Yglesias in his epic investigation of why Miami didn’t expand westward (he couldn’t find the answer, but it is “the Everglades”) and Zack Beauchamp’s discovery of a bridge connecting Gaza to the West Bank, they have found the answer:

CNN anchor Carol Costello aired a segment on Wednesday that described how the Islamic State terrorist group has been using emojis and images of Nutella and kittens on social media to lure women into its all-female brigade.

It gets better:

“But how do you relay your message of jihad in a way Westerners understand?” Costello said. “Well, you turn to the language of social media, and that seems to be working just fine for ISIS. ISIS is talking online about jars of Nutella, pictures of kittens and emojis.”

Costello then explained the possible rationale for this.

“These three images are — in part — helping ISIS recruiters lure Westerners into their fight because they want people to believe their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours,” Costello said. “They actually eat Nutella and I guess they have pet kittens.”

I don’t know that Carol Costello is any dumber than the typical CNN or MSNBC anchor. She does a better job of imitating lucidity and sobriety than many but it is pretty obvious that she’s dumb enough to read whatever is put in her teleprompter and is clever enough to make vacuity look like contemplation. As far as I can tell Costello’s judgment is questionable because she thought Bristol Palin getting hit was funny and she read part of one of my pieces on the air (thanks Carol, I copied this segment to DVD and show it at parties… I liked the part where your panel nearly laughed out loud).

There are two equally plausible explanations for this story… and it being true is not one of them.

The first is that CNN is so desperate for ratings that it decided that the buzz of a bizarre story like this would draw enough eyeballs to improve their ratings. (If you are reading this, by the way, you are part of a larger audience than Costello has.) This strategy has worked for @voxdotcom but their strategy was baked in with their personnel decisions. You don’t put Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, and a collection of imbeciles and raging anti-Semites together and not get comedy gold.

The second, and most likely, is that this was some kind of an elaborate practical joke played on the rather addle-pated Costello — perhaps endorsed by CNN and in service of the first explanation.

CNN has reached the point that the only thing that will save it from being perpetually locked in last place in ratings is the ongoing, slow motion, and delicious implosion of MSNBC.