When the United States suddenly announced last week that it had attacked a militant group called Khorasan, many observers wondered where, exactly, these people had come from.
"Extraordinary - military strikes against a group no WH official had ever publicly mentioned by name," ABC's Jon Karl noted.
That didn't stop the headlines about the group's fearsome powers from piling up everywhere—along with lots of "explainer" posts so that people could actually know what was being discussed.
"US official says Khorasan Group 'a clear and present danger'," one typical headline read.
"What is the Khorasan group?" another one asked.
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain lambasted the media's handling of this apparently sudden new threat to the world, charging in a post on Sunday that outlets had overhyped both Khorasan's capabilities and the level of the danger that it poses, only doing more skeptical reporting much later:
Once it served its purpose of justifying the start of the bombing campaign in Syria, the Khorasan narrative simply evaporated as quickly as it materialized...Literally within a matter of days, we went from “perhaps in its final stages of planning its attack” (CNN) to “plotting as ‘aspirational’” and “there did not yet seem to be a concrete plan in the works” (NYT).
This is in contrast to the somewhat more skeptical tone some outlets took in their reporting on the ISIS group.
Greenwald and Hussain also raised questions about whether Khorasan even exists in any real form.
Read the full post here.