White House: We're in a 'Narrative Battle' With ISIS

September 19, 2016

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. was in a "narrative battle" with the Islamic State terrorist organization during an appearance Monday on CNN's New Day.

Brought on to discuss the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the possible connections to international terrorism, Earnest cautioned against painting with a "broad brush" regarding terrorism and Islam.

"When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight, a narrative fight with them, a narrative battle, and what ISIL wants to do is they want to project that they are an organization that is representing Islam in a fight and a war against the West, and a war against the United States," he said. "That is a bankrupt, false narrative. It's a mythology, and we have made progress in debunking that mythology."

After laying out advances made militarily against ISIS, which the Obama administration calls ISIL, Earnest again repeated the U.S. had made progress in "debunking this mythology."

"We can't play into this narrative that somehow the United States or the West is fighting against the Muslim religion," he said. "The fact is there are millions of patriotic Muslims in this country right now that make our country proud. They serve in our armed services. They serve in our law enforcement ... These are individuals who make a substantial and positive contribution to our country, and that is an inconvenient fact for the ISIL narrative."

Earnest used a similar line earlier on MSNBC's Morning Joe, saying the fight against ISIS was in some ways "just a war of narratives."