September 27th, 2005

Al Qaeda as media source

Captain’s Quarters reports, (via this Washington Post article) that al Qaeda is now skipping the media middle man, and debuting its own internet video news site. I guess even al Jazeera isn’t good enough for al Qaeda–everyone seems to be dissatisfied with the media these days.

I’m not sure why al Qaeda isn’t more pleased with its coverage, though. Here, for example, is today’s Reuters report on the killing of Abu Azzam, said to be Al Qaeda’s second in command in Iraq, by combined US and Iraqi forces (and how that combination would have seemed an unbelievable pipe dream just three short years ago!).

In the Reuters article, writer Luke Baker is very careful not to crow too much about Azzam’s capture. A goodly portion of the article is devoted to “balancing” the good news: coalition statements are couched in the language of “US and Iraqi forces said” rather than of established fact. And al Qaeda statements on the killing are treated almost as respectfully, although Reuter’s does at least mention that the Al Qaeda’s sources’ authenticity could not be verified–that is, Reuters isn’t sure the speakers are actually from Al Qaeda.

Baker is quick to bring more “balance” to the story, which cannot be allowed to be limited to what seems to be an unequivocal US and Iraqi forces victory. Much of the article is devoted to downplaying the possible effects of the capture, and of course the obligatory “but things are still awful” appears fairly early on:

But attacks continued unabated.

In the latest act of violence, a suicide bomber…

I’ve often wondered why two stories such as this can’t be separated into–well, into two stories. But they almost never are.

10 Responses to “Al Qaeda as media source”

  1. Michael B Says:

    Another Walid Phares post at the CT blog, this one not regarding the primary topic but regarding the way the MSM can often be caught playing people like Steve J.

  2. TmjUtah Says:

    Steve J. -

    The GWOT is not my chosen answer to the threat. But it’s what we’ve got to work with right now, and I reserve the right to withhold my prediction on whether or not an “Islamic Constitution” is in fact automatically a freedom killer.

    Constitutions are paper. People are people – and freedom is a powerful force among those who have never experienced it. I believe that Turkey has an Islamic constition… and they aren’t state sponsors of terror, at least as far as I know.

    I’m not in the “religion of peace” camp. Not by a long, long chalk. Without there is a reformation of the religion, I see ONE outcome to this struggle – the Germans and the Japanese understand all about that one.

    I believe our current strategy is better than we have any right to expect given the state of our body politic and pop culture. It’s not what is needed, but it is what we have to work with. And there is progress being made, along with the costs, mistakes, and setbacks inherent in any war.

    The mullahs must be destroyed. Whether that takes domestic revolution, harmless collapse ala the Sovs (not likely), or a military campaign (my guess), is a question that will be answered within the next few years.

    Bush put the mullahs on notice that they would not be allowed to become a nuclear power. I don’t know why that isn’t recalled more often in the press. The wording was specific, and I believe that Condoleeza Rice made the same statement in an interview or speech earlier this year.

    Time fills, again. I’m thinking the next couple of years are going to be pretty full.

    neo, please accept my apologies for this blatantly off topic exchange. I’ll carry conversations like this elsewhere in the future.

  3. Baron Bodissey Says:

    Oops!

    I wasn’t ignoring you, neo — just didn’t read your post first…

  4. David Thomson Says:

    “One wonders if they have an agenda other than reporting the story.”

    Please tell me that you are not that naive. I hope that you are indulging in a bit of tongue in cheek. The MSM are committed to the destruction of President Bush and the suicide of Western Civilization. They will consciously deny this to be the case—but one should focus on their actions and not their words. Earlier this morning Fred Barnes said something that truly got my attention:

    “Finally, there’s the media, more aptly called the Republican-hating media.”

    http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/133mmdsn.asp

    The Republican-hating media. Yes, that accurately describes their visceral contempt for the GOP. Pure hatred underpins their motives.

  5. Goesh Says:

    Play by the rules with terrorists, lose by the rules. Until the consequences for acting as a terrorist or aiding and abeiting terrorism are absolutely horrendous, nothing is going to change. As long as we apply the rules of governance for civilized people to terrorists, they will thrive and probably even grow in numbers and strength. That al qaidah now has its own network is totally logical and I am surprised it didn’t happen sooner. It will be viewed/heard by tens of millions of people. Stupid enemies deserve to have sh** rubbed in their faces. I wonder how many of our resources, i.e. work hours, energy,technology etc. will be tied up monitoring, assessing and deciphering their broadcasts? It is actually a brilliant, tactical move on their part. They can have a taunting segment, a red herring segment and a comedy segment.

    Can’t you imagine an al qaidah stand-up comic in action? I can.

    Comic: Hey folks! Guess what the Americans said when through deceit and bribery and the assistance of the evil Jews they arrested one of the wives of one of our trusted fighters??
    Audience: What!?
    Comic: How many lawyers do you want?
    Audience: HA! HA! HA!
    Comic: Guess what the Americans threatened her with?
    Audience: What!?
    Comic: confinement with halal food and al quran
    Audience: HA! HA! HA!
    Comic: The Americans are so stupid, don’t you know. What is the first thing they look for when one of our brave fighters has to dress like a woman to escape detection?
    Audience: What?
    Comic: Combat boots!!
    Audience: snicker snicker snicker
    Comic: Seriously folks, don’t you think Bush looks more and more like a Jew?
    Audience: Yes! HA! HA!
    Comic: When is the best time to attack America?
    Audience: When!?
    Comic: Anytime!!
    Audience: HA! HA! Snicker, snicker, snicker
    Comic: You’ve been just great, but my time is up. Remember! The best time to kick an enemy is when they are down, and allah judges infidel children the same as their parents so keep sending em’ up for judgement!

  6. Paul Says:

    Does anyone trust or give any creedence to the “main stream” media in our country? I find some of their reportage suspect and the media did not score all that well in New Orleans from what I am hearing now. One wonders if they have an agenda other than reporting the story.

  7. Steve J. Says:

    Democratization will work

    No it won’t. Iraq will be an Islamic state allied with Iran.

    Article (2):
    1st — Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:
    (a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.

  8. Steve J. Says:

    This is hilarious! Bush tanking in the polls and we get another “#2″ guy. What a crock. Rove is playing you folks.

  9. TmjUtah Says:

    Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I read an AP, much less Rueters, war story past the first paragraph or two.

    If we bag an important target, or stand alone events occur such as elections, alliances, transfers of responsibility to locals, benchmark reconstruction progress is made… they’ll note that stuff in a line or two, then use the next six to sixty paragraphs explaining how screwed up everything else is, or how much better things were in, say, 1986, in the same area.

    “Senior officials” get mentioned a lot.

    And when the tone goes from active to passive, I know that I’ve reached the end of news and entered the editorial/propaganda zone.

    “Observers remain worried that Iraqi Police can do the job….” *click*, time to move on.

    We are killing their cadre by boatloads. We are killing their leadership when we find them.

    Big sea/big swamp doesn’t matter if we don’t stop working up the chain, and the only way we’ll stop working up the chain is if our domestic politics make it happen.

    My first instinct on introduction to the reality of jihad in 1982 was that we should have declared war on and destroyed the Islamic Republic of Iran. That was back before night vision, brilliant weapons, and stealth, and the Soviet Bear was still very much a player on the board.

    But that was what should have been done, just the same. In the affairs of nations, you end killing when nobody is left on the other side capable of, or willing to, continue the fight.

    We’ve bled – the world has bled – the twenty plus years since, and the hands holding the knives have been receiving their lead from Tehran the entire time. The Sauds are a cancer in their own right, but they play the game to divert the anger of the agony of their own serfs elsewhere. If the Sauds are the bankers of terror, the evil behind jihad is controlled from Iran.

    Any other empire in history that absorbed such an attack as we did, and possessing the means to retaliate that we do now, would have laid waste to at least the leadership of Iran on a scale that would make Carthaginian ghosts feel lucky.

    Democratization will work; the power of freedom is a flame that burns deeper than any hate, but builds instead of destroys. It will work, if given enough time, if nascent democracies sieze the moment and embrace the institutions of rule of law and property rights… and if the barbarians who depend on despotism are refused with unambiguous confrontation and defeat.

    Time fills. I don’t expect to see a n Islamic reformation in my lifetime. I do expect to see nuclear/biological/chemical weapons employed, though – and whether or not we are on the receiving end or not depends a lot on how firm our resolve is to make democratization as it is under way now work.

  10. Michael B Says:

    Walid Phares just posted on this subject at the CT blog.

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