Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication

Advisor(s)

Traci Zimmerman

Seán McCarthy

Scott Lunsford

Abstract

In an attempt to combat ISIS recruitment videos, the United States Department of State (USDS) developed the Think Again, Turn Away social media campaign featuring videos attempting to persuade viewers to resist the message of ISIS. In the article “U.S. government: A war of online video propaganda,” authors William Allendorfer and Susan Herring (2015) analyze the textual rhetoric of the ISIS video series Flames of War in comparison to eight Think Again, Turn Away videos. To add to Allendorfer and Herring’s (2015) textual analysis, this study uses the framework of scholar David Blakesley’s (2004) four elements of film rhetoric (language, ideology, interpretation, and identification) to complete a visual analysis of the ISIS video “No Respite” and the Think Again, Turn Away video, “#WhyTheyLeftDaesh.” From this visual analysis, I argue that ISIS attempts to make their organization seem larger than it is, the USDS lacks a dichotomy in message, and ISIS seems to utilize images relatable to the target audience. Ultimately, this study found that ISIS propaganda tends to have a stronger impact than the USDS. This study is limited because the audience impact and reception cannot be fully measured.

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