Journalist and author Naomi Wolf suggested Saturday that videos of Islamic State militants beheading American and British hostages may have been staged.
The news site Vox flagged a series of Facebook posts in which Wolf questioned the authenticity of the videos, going as far as to imply that they were staged and that both the hostages and their parents were actors.
— Graeme Wood (@gcaw) October 4, 2014
Wolf later deleted the post at the request of a New York Times reporter, whom Vox identified as foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, after the reporter explained that the hostages’ abductions had been under a media blackout for two years.
Wolf went on to write several other posts insisting she was not “calling into question the authenticity of the ISIS videos” while arguing independent verification was indeed necessary to authenticate the recorded beheadings. Wolf accused the news media of “badly distorting” her comments Sunday in a rather lengthy, elliptical post and further tried to silence her critics by citing the insight she gained into how political narratives are crafted while advising former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.
“So all the people who are attacking me right now for ‘conspiracy theories’ have no idea what they are talking about … People who assume the dominant narrative MUST BE TRUE and the dominant reasons MUST BE REAL are not experienced in how that world works,” she wrote.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.