CRF Blog

How to Win a War of Ideas

by Bill Hayes

In How to Win a War of Ideas for New America Weekly, Catherine Wilson looks at the ideological part of terrorism.

We live in a world in which disseminating information has never been easier. A quick glance at your smartphone allows you to learn about the day’s news, check the weather forecast, and connect with friends on countless social media platforms.

But at the same time, that ease of dissemination has also made it easier for extremist groups to recruit. Of 129 individuals tracked by New America, 101 showed a pattern of often downloading and sharing jihadist propaganda online. Social media gives extremists the opportunity to recruit virtually, simplifying the process and allowing recruits to approach them. Militants in the United States today tend to become radicalized after reading and interacting with propaganda online, and they generally have little or no physical interaction with other extremists. [more]