President Obama Must NOT Wait Until an Attack Before Getting Serious About the Islamic State

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Let’s state a fact. Some will say that it’s not a fact, but I’ll demonstrate why it is indeed a fact here shortly. The fact is this: if the United States continues with its current policy regarding the Islamic State, there will be a major terrorist attack on American soil perpetrated directly by the Islamic State or its supporters.

The obvious question would be how this can be construed as a fact. There are no indications that we’re any closer today than we were a couple of months ago to being attacked. The reason we can state it as factual is because the current policy regarding the Islamic State is no working and every day that they’re allowed to exist increases the chances of someone doing in America what they did in Paris, Beirut, the Russian passenger jet… or worse. It’s not a question of if but rather when it will be successful. With the FBI investigating 1,000 active potential Islamic State threats on United States soil, there’s no way to keep them all. Our law enforcement agencies are the best in the world but the numbers are stacked against them.

Some would say that the President will not do anything and therefore the best we can do is to wait for the next President to get into office. That’s not good enough. We’re over a year away from someone new in the White House and things are escalating with the Islamic State. It’s not just their military that needs to be eliminated. It’s their ideology. It’s the anger being felt by Muslims that are approaching the point of radicalization. It’s the risk of infiltration by the Islamic State among the Middle East refugees. It’s the tipping point that America and the world is reaching where the specter of terrorism is finding its way out of the dark corners and onto main street USA in some unsuspecting city.

There are those who say we should have been able to stop the 9/11 attacks based upon intelligence and the history of attacks that led up to the tragedy. They might be right, but if there’s one notion that should not be forgotten its that they had the unfortunate luxury of complacency. Today, we do not have that luxury. Even a decade and a half removed from 9/11, the risks are still present in the minds of law enforcement, politicians, and the general population. Add in the three major terrorist attacks in recent weeks and we should no longer allow any form of complacency.

Islamic State in America

Paris isn’t Beirut, and while it’s unfair to view the two through different filters, it’s clear that Paris is too similar to American cities to ignore. I’m personally very aware of the terrorism and radical Islamic ideology that kills people every day around the country, but I don’t fault the general population for viewing it from a different perspective. Paris is a shared perspective. If it can happen there, it can happen here.

Knowing this, there’s no excuse for waiting. There’s no reason that we should wait around for a terrorist attack to happen before acting to stop it. That’s not to say that nobody’s trying. It’s to say that the President of the United States is not trying hard enough. He has a history of underestimating the threat from the Islamic State and the American people are finally starting to realize the error in his ways. We must keep the pressure up, whatever pressure we have available to us, in order to bring the President to his senses. He’s clearly not seeing this straight. His judgment is clouded. Whether it’s by his lame duck status, his unearned Nobel Peace Prize, or by the hopes that nothing will happen until someone else takes over shouldn’t really matter. The reason is unimportant. The necessity for change is all that matters.

Even if the President gets more aggressive, an attack still might come. However, if he doesn’t change his policy, an attack will almost certainly come. We have to act which means he has to act. Otherwise, we’re playing directly into the hands of the Islamic State.

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PR pros: Wait, wait, journalists, don't lie to us

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Many journalists, despite their ability to ask tough questions, don’t like to utter the words “no” or “I’m not interested” to a PR pro pitching a story.

Reporters often prefer to ignore emails and rationalize that they are too busy to answer them anyway. (This rationalization is frequently made prior to their ducking into a back room to spend time complaining about management.)

However, if you press a journalist to provide a straight yes or no, don’t be surprised to hear one of the following dodges. (The real story is in italics.)

1. I’m too focused on another project to cover your story, but follow up later. (If you actually remember to do so, don’t expect a response.)

Understand newsjacking and learn how to make it work for your content when you download this free guide.

2. I’ve been swamped, which is why I haven’t covered the story you pitched (even though I work in a small, slow news market which publishes stories about stolen bicycles).

3. The shoot went great. (I’m uncomfortable telling you this face to face, but I’ll tell the producer this sucked.)

4. Email me a summary of your pitch (and when you call back in a week, I still won’t have read it).

5. I’m definitely interested in the story, but I can’t cover it for a while (and by that time I will have accepted a new job elsewhere).

6. I will pass your idea along to the producer of a more suitable newscast (which means I will fulfill my responsibility by shooting off a bland email without walking a few feet to the other producer’s desk or providing a passionate argument on why to cover the idea).

7. I will pass this idea along to the assignment desk (which means hell no!).

8. Your idea sounds like too much of a commercial (although you could likely find 10 recent examples on our newscasts that resemble commercials).

9. I like the idea, but the producers didn’t (which means I didn’t love the idea enough myself and didn’t fight for it during the editorial meeting, but pitching it fulfilled my quota of bringing daily ideas to the table).

10. If you find a local example, we’ll cover the story (and if you actually shock me by finding someone local for me to interview, I’ll dodge your emails).

A former TV reporter, Keith Yaskin owns The Flip Side Communications in Scottsdale, Arizona, which provides video production, employee communications, public relations and media training.(Image via)

Ragan.com

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