In an almost one-hour special report aired on October 27 following the announcement of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi death after he was cornered in a tunnel in Syria, National Public Radio (NPR) discussed his recruitment skills and “leadership” abilities.
Weekend Edition Sunday host Lulu Garcia-Navarro led a roundtable discussion with NPR reporters Greg Myre, Tamara Keith, and Daniel Estrin about Baghdadi’s death and asked them to tell listeners about the terrorist.
“He led a movement that we’ve never seen before,” Myre said. “ISIS had tens of thousands of members, fighters, coming in from all over the world.”
“They controlled massive amounts of territory — in Eastern Syria and Western and Northern Iraq,” Myre said, adding ISIS had “millions of people under their control.”
“They administered cities, they collected taxes,” Myre said.
“They had this incredible online recruit presence in terms of spreading propaganda; recruiting followers,” Myre said. “This is a guy that sort of emerged on the scene.”
“And led this group that had done something we’d never seen before,” Myre said.
“This isn’t the end of ISIS, but he was a real leader,” Myre said. “It’s not somebody that they can just appoint somebody else; take over, and the movement continues.”
“His leadership was critical,” said Myre, who admitted that the terrorist’s death was “definitely a major blow to the Islamic State.”
Estrin diminished the successful mission a “symbolic victory,” because “the ISIS network actually has long moved on beyond Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
Meanwhile, Keith, who is a White House correspondent for NPR, claimed that President Donald Trump makes up U.S. foreign policy “on the fly,” and the president’s announcement took the “focus away from the muddle and confusion” of his administration.
While the taxpayer-funded media outlet did refer to Baghdadi as terrorist in its report, it failed to detail any of the heinous crimes committed by Baghdadi and his ISIS terrorists while he was leader, which includes slaughtering of journalists, murder of Americans, mass beheadings, burning human beings alive in cages, and having children decapitate rivals.
Breitbart News reported on the four Americans killed by ISIS, including two who were beheaded — Jim Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller — and which President Donald Trump described as “especially heinous.”
Reuters headlined its report on Baghdadi, Islamic State’s Baghdadi: a trail of horror and death:
The genocide of Yazidis, adherents of one of the Middle East’s oldest religions, illustrated the brutality of his rule. Thousands of men were slaughtered on their ancestral Sinjar mountain in northwestern Iraq and women were killed or taken as sex slaves. Some other religious groups suffered sexual slavery, slaughter and floggings.
The group also caused global revulsion with beheadings of hostages from countries including the United States, Britain and Japan.
The Jerusalem Post also described al-Baghdadi’s crimes:
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a rapist. Like most jihadists, his main motivation was murder and genocide, combined with far-Right religious hatred. In Islamic State, the organization and “state” that he led, he was able to exploit various strands of followers to create the closest thing the Middle East has seen to a short-lived, Nazi-style country.
He spent his days as leader raping women the group had kidnapped while his men died on the front lines. Like Hitler, he enjoyed the good life while his Sunni soldiers suffered under the bombs of the US-led coalition and struggled to stop the rising tide of Shi’ite militias and Kurdish fighters arrayed against them.
Some other religious groups suffered sexual slavery, slaughter and floggings. The group also caused global revulsion with beheadings of hostages from countries including the United States, Britain and Japan.
“The group claimed responsibility for or inspired attacks in dozens of cities including Paris, Nice, Orlando, Manchester, London and Berlin, and in nearby countries Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” Reuters reported.
Those attacks included dozens on predominantly Shi’ite Muslim areas in Iraq where a truck bomb in July 2016 killed more than 324 people, according to Reuters.
Breitbart News has updated this story to more accurately encapsulate the content of the NPR special report.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter