The topic of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatens the world by its terrorist attacks and other violent actions. The article under analysis highlights the issue associated with ISIS in Mexico and a range of facts expressed by different people regarding its potential entrance on the territory of the US. Taking into account that the mentioned issue is rather critical, the significance of the article cannot be overestimated.
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The title of the article written by Lauren Caroll is “Is ISIS in Mexico and Planning to Cross the Border?”. Trent Franks who read on the article published by Judicial Watch that provided the results of the anonymous pool and concluded that the US-Mexico border may be crossed presents the first group of voices. His credibility is ensured by his representativeness in Congress and staying true to the American nation. Trent sent the speech to conservative non-profit organization Staying True to America’s National Destiny, spreading the non-verified information. The article was published on 14 September 2016 on PolitiFact, the online platform that identifies itself as the fact-checking source, presenting and rating various political issues. The analysis of the claims of politicians, law enforcement, and other experts is provided from different perspectives. The fact that it was published in 2014 shows that the article was rather relevant and important to the interested parties, namely young people, who tend to spend much time on the Internet, officials, and so on as the mentioned threat relates to this year as well. This paper focuses on the analysis of the voices cited in the article to examine their arguments and organization. Therefore, this essay may be regarded as an argument of fact essay.
In her introduction, the author outlines the key goal of the article, pointing out that she is fact-checking the claim of Trent Franks, the politician from Arizona. The author focuses on the source of information to reveal the voices of politicians and international security experts. The main claim of the author is to check information on the report that circulates on the Internet. Carroll cites the words of Franks, the Republican from Arizona, whose opinion is based on this report. Moreover, she supports her claim by noting other experts, adhering to the same views. Namely, Rick Perry (Texas Gov.), Lou Barletta (Republican), and Marco Rubio (Florida Senator) are noted. Carroll uses the argument of evaluation to reveal the theme by pointing out several assessments that are given by different people (Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz.58).
Caroll presents the opinion of Lou Barletta, the Republican who states that “we know that terrorist networks have been using our porous southern border and a broken immigration system to enter the United States”. This was said on hearing before the House Homeland Security Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee without the clarification regarding the source of such a sharp statement. Then, the author of the article offers the voice of Jennifer Lasley, DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Analysis, who responds to the above speaker, arguing that there is no reliable source that may state that ISIS is going to or already crossed the US-Mexico borders. The administrators of the same hearing also proved the fact that no evidence of the potential threat exists. Furthermore, John Wagner believes that “it is much more likely that ISIS and other Islamic extremists would come to the United States by commercial plane” (Carroll). This shows the set of convincing arguments testifies the unreasonable nature of Frank’s and also Judicial Watch’s statements.
Based on the voice of Franks and other similar voices, the author is evaluating the fact that some of the US authorities are afraid that the militants of the ISIS group can enter the territory of the American state through the border with Mexico. According to Judicial Watch, the American non-governmental organization, terrorists are located near the city of Ciudad Juarez. The mentioned source claims that the analysis of data obtained from social networks demonstrates the real threat of Islamic extremists’ penetration into the United States. This is rather essential as nowadays media significantly affects the opinions of people as well as their behavior, creating a tense atmosphere in the case of ISIS. Even though the information may not be verified, citizens and even politicians tend to believe it and share with others like Franks, the main supporter of the above opinion. At the same time, the author uses other voices to create the second group of voices and state that no specific plans for the penetration on the territory of the United States or terrorist attacks could be identified. The author of the article provides information regarding the basis of such information. In particular, she notes that no credible agency or ratings were used, thus making the above statements non-reliable.
It is possible, but not Likely
The second group of the authors, including David Schanzer, Daniel Benjamin, Beto O’Rourke, and others provide a range of arguments, rejecting the direct threat from ISIS. For example, it is noted that the organization stays focused on Syria and Iraq rather than on other countries and that there is no official source that may prove it. When John McCain, the Senator of Arizona, asked about the Internet sources and their connection to ISIS, Francis Taylor, the Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis, answered as follows: “Yes, sir, there have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility” (Caroll). Thus, along with other similar voices, the latter shows that the threat is not verified and rumors are unreasonable.
Moreover, according to Daniel Benjamin, the former ambassador at large and coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department, ISIS remains focused on Syria and Iraq rather than the United States as the latter is not among the organization’s interests. Even though it would target the American nation, it is necessary to have, as noted by Clark, a large network of supporters and equipment that are currently not identified. This is another argument that is expressed by the second group of voices and proving the unreasonable nature of Franks’ claims.
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This section of the article emphasizes that Islamic extremists are increasingly using social networks as both organizational and propaganda tools. Focusing here on international security experts’ voices, including Francis Taylor, John McCain, and Colin Clarke notes that Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks are used by ISIS members as the platform to spread their ideas to people, thus embracing wide populations and affecting them. In particular, reports of airstrikes against militant forces often become examples of the struggle of the West against ISIS in messages broadcast in English. The information provided by the authors cannot be proved. It could be easily argued and denied as there is no evidence of it being taken from credible sources. Despite the absence of the sources, the information presented in the article appears to be accurate and convincing.
The target audience of this article is composed of experts, officials, and also usual people, who are interested in the issue. ISIS leads a rather aggressive and violent politics that threatens people all over the globe, and the fact that it may enter the US may also frighten citizens. Therefore, it is possible to suggest that PolitiFact strives to enlighten the topic to provide people with the most truthful information, making them more aware of the current events. In their turn, the experts are likely to benefit from this article both practically and theoretically to develop relevant strategies, allowing preventing potential attacks. In this article, Carroll points out the key ideas and concerns related to potential ISIS entrance from Mexico to the US. Consequently, one may conclude that the goal desired by the author was achieved as she provided an average reader with useful information regarding the topic.
The text is divided into fourth sections, each of which pursuits a separate goal and has a title. The first section introduces a reader with the topic, and the second one pinpoints the main argument. The third section is the most comprehensive as it uncovers the opinions of plenty of experts that compose the contra-argument. Ultimately, the author concludes with a brief section to express the view of PolitiFact. Carroll summarizes that most of the experts cited in the article reported that this entrance is possible yet unlikely because no one official verified the initial claim. The author brief yet focused titles such as “the origins”, “it’s possible but unlikely”, and “our ruling” to indicate the core ideas. However, it would be better if there were more sections with longer titles to reflect their essence. For example, some expressive quotes could be used to attract the reader and enlarge the target audience.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that paying more attention to various voices presented in the article, it is possible to receive some insights into the perception of various people regarding ISIS. For example, the tendency that may be understood is that even one non-verified article may create debates and threaten people because of its allegedly scientific nature. In general, not only the key theme of the article but also a range of associated issues may be understood in the course of reading and analyzing this article and applying critical thinking skills.
More importantly, the last section of the article offers the readers the conclusions made by Caroll who claim that it is “highly unlikely” that ISIS would cross the borders – the assumptions made based on fact-checking performed in the article. In particular, the author stresses that only one source provided the threat while others, including media, law enforcement officials, and international security experts proved the absence of such information. In this connection, it is possible to conclude that the article is about fake news checking, and the author uses it to explain that information is to be properly verified before it would be shared with the public. In other words, it is necessary to check various opinions to shape one’s meaning regarding the issue. In my point of view, the author used several voices to reveal these ideas.
Carroll, Lauren. “Is ISIS in Mexico and Planning to Cross the Border?” PolitiFact, 2017, Web.
Lunsford, Andrea, and John Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument. Bedford, 2016.