Communication Breakdown: Unraveling the Islamic State’s Media Efforts

Despite the destruction and chaos sown on the battlefield by the group that calls itself the Islamic State, one could argue that its propaganda efforts toward supporters, sympathizers, and enemies have also had disruptive results. Whether online or on the ground, the group has sought to use propaganda to magnify the effects of its battlefield successes, minimize the consequences of its failures, recruit new adherents, and increase awareness of its ultimate goals.

Given the focus that the Islamic State places on its media activities, it is important for those fighting the group to have a level of familiarity with the breadth, content, and nature of these activities. The goal of this report is twofold. First, it attempts to examine declassified documents captured from the group’s predecessors to provide a baseline understanding of its present-day media structure and operations. Second, through an examination of over 9,000 Islamic State official media products, this report offers detailed insight into what the group is saying and what a study of its propaganda can tell us about its strengths, weaknesses, and struggles.

Tags: Content Analysis, Diaspora Support, ISIS, Recruitment, Violent Jihadism