The Atlantic

Why ISIS Is So Good at Branding Its Failures as Successes

The Parsons Green attack shows that governments and media outlets keep falling into the propaganda traps being set for them.
Source: Daniel Leal-Olivas / Getty

When you think about terrorist attacks the way the Islamic State does, even blatant technical failure can become strategic success. It’s all about how shrewdly you brand an attack after the fact—and how willing the media is to buy into your narrative.  

Consider what happened in the U.K. on Friday. During morning rush hour, the London Underground’s District Line was brought to a standstill after a fireball erupted on a train at Parsons Green Station. Minutes after the Metropolitan Police arrived, news broke that the incident had been caused by a bomb——that had failed to detonate properly. Within a the incident an attempted terrorist attack.

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