The militant group has done a lot of evil - but as the ramp up to ground troops gets under way, its important to note some of the evil the media's reported has turned out to be bunk

Top 10 Bogus ISIS Stories

The militant group has done a lot of evil - but as the ramp up to ground troops gets under way, its important to note some of the evil the media's reported has turned out to be bunk


ISIS's violent bona fides are not in doubt to anyone paying attention. They've targeted religious minorities, beheaded aid workers, sold women into sex slavery and have been all around devastating for those under their rule. But as America debates the possibility of a full-scale ground invasion of ISIS-controlled territory, it's important to note that much of the ISIS threat - namely that which targets the west - has been habitually overstated by an uncritical media.

In no particular order, here are the ten most bogus ISIS scare stories over the past year:


1. Female genital mutilation edict - July 2014


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Who it fooled: Most major media outlets from Time to Reuters to The Atlantic to the BBC (whose story has since been scrubbed online). Above all, the UN itself.

Why it's bogus: Actual residents of Mosul and regional experts quickly knew it reeked. The story was subsequently discredited by experts and jouranalists and called a hoax soon after.


2. Church burning in Mosul - July 2014


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Who it fooled: Human Rights Watch, The Atlantic, The Independent, The Times of India

Why it's bogus: An intrepid archaeologist, Sam Hardy, called BS and thanks to the magic of reverse image Google search and some prodding by yours truly, it was eventually retracted by several outlets and never mentioned again.


3. ISIS in Mexico - Oct 2014


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Who it fooled: Fox News, Judicial Watch, The Inquisitr .

Why it's bogus: Absurd on its face, the story was quickly and roundly debunked.

4. ISIS recruiting emo British teen - Dec 2014


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Who it fooled: Metro, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph

Why it's bogus: The person who uploaded the picture admitted on Twitter it was a fake. The media subsequently deemed it a "hoax".


5. ISIS Caliphate map - July 2014


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Who it fooled: ABC News, International Business Times, Breitbart

Why it's bogus: The original story from ABC News was citing a map that had been floating around the internet for months. To this day their one and only source is a tweet from a noted white supremacist website, "Third Position".

io9.com and others eventually deemed it a hoax.

6. ISIS beheads Christian children - Aug 2014


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Who it fooled: Originally asserted on CNN by self-proclaimed Iraqi-Christian activist, Mark Arabo (a grocery story industry lobbyist whose previous media appearance was on a local San Diego news channel to oppose an increase in minimum wage), this story spread among right wing and Christian media.

Why it's bogus: After a fairly thorough inquiry, snopes eventually determined the claim was "inconclusive", having found no independent evidence it occurred.


7. $425m bank robbery - June 2014


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Who it fooled: The Washington Post, International Business Times, Fox News, Mic, Vocativ

Why it's bogus: The story was based solely on accounts from the former mayor of Mosul and was later found to be uncredible by The Financial Times and, ultimately, US officials themselves


8. 'Over 100 Americans have joined ISIS' - Oct 2014


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Who it fooled: NBC, Washington Post, al Jazeera


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Why it's bogus: After the FBI admitted there were only "about a dozen" Americans fighting along side jihadists in Syria in September 2014, several media outlets continued to report that "over 100" despite the government correcting the record several weeks prior.

9. #AllEyesOnISIS "Twitter Storm" - June 2014


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Who it fooled: The Daily Mail , McClatchy

Why it's bogus: Yours truly showed that the "twitter storm" was simply a reposting of weeks or months old tweets by an overzealous ISIS fanboi.

10. ISIS's ebola Terror Plot - Dec 2014


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Who it fooled: The Daily Mail, Fox News, Mashable, various rightwing media

Why it's bogus: "Iraqi media" was the only source for the story and the Iraqi minister of health quickly debunked it.


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