According to a 21-page media strategy letter found in Osama bin Laden’s compound during last year’s raid in Abbottabad, al Qaeda operative Adam Gadahn (aka Adam Pealrman from Oregon) is no fan of Fox News, thinks CNN is better in Arabic and liked MSNBC… that is, until Keith Olbermann was fired.
In a column this week for the Washington Post, David Ignatius writes about how al Qaeda has tried to control the media:
As I wrote last week, Gadahn hated Fox News (“falls into the abyss”); he liked MSNBC but complained about the firing of Keith Olbermann; he had mixed feelings about CNN (better in Arabic than in English) and made flattering comments about CBS and ABC. Basically, he wanted to play them all off to al-Qaeda’s best advantage. …
In the letter, the media adviser focuses on “how to exploit” the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, on television. He worries that CNN “seems to be in cooperation with the government more than the others,” though he praises its “good and detailed” Arabic coverage. “I used to think that MSNBC channel may be good and neutral a bit,” he continues, but then notes the firing of Olbermann.
It’s true. Keith Olbermann is obviously the standard bearer for “unbiased” news coverage favorable to al Qaeda…
The media chatter continues: CBS “has a famous program (‘60 Minutes’) that has some popularity and a good reputation.” ABC “is all right; actually, it could be one of the best channels,” because of its chief investigator and terrorism expert, Brian Ross. But all the networks, he complains, will bring in analysts who will “conduct a smearing” of al-Qaeda figures.
Gadahn discusses how to game the coverage. Bin Laden could offer “an exclusive press scoop” to one network; but better to spread the material “so that there will be healthy competition.” As for the print journalists, he suggests informing 30 to 50 of them that they’ve been selected to “receive special media material” for the 9/11 anniversary. If just a third of them respond, he notes, al-Qaeda will have 10 journalists who “will display our mission.”
The Gadahn memo confirms what many of us have thought for a long time — the mainstream media is easily manipulated… and not in our favor, but that of our enemies.