60 Minutes does John Brennan’s job for him

Fear is flammable, and on this week’s episode of 60 Minutes, host Scott Pelley seemed determined to kindle it.

Pelley interviewed CIA Director John Brennan at CIA headquarters last Sunday about the security threats facing the United States in 2016, and the threat of ISIS in particular. Pelley opens the show with the claim that ISIS has, “the manpower, the means, and the ruthlessness to attack the US,” Dun dun dun.

Then Pelley sets out to prove his point with a series of leading questions, starting with his first, and punctuated throughout the 13-minute segment:

“Is ISIS coming here?”

“So you’re expecting an attack in the United States?”

“Does ISIS have chemical weapons?”

“Do they have the capabilities to bring them to the West?”

“What do you think our policy would be after an ISIS-directed attack in the United States?”

As if that’s a foregone conclusion.

Pelley is committing a double disservice here. Not only is he not providing context around the complex quandary of how the US should deal with ISIS, his questions inflate existing fears, implying that the ISIS threat in the US is imminent and inevitable...


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