PJ Vogt is a producer for On the Media. He's on Twitter here.
Osama Bin Laden, American Press Critic
Thursday, May 03, 2012 - 06:20 PM
On this week’s episode, we’re talking about the one year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death. Today, the government released a trove of declassified materials from the raid on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound. If your Arabic is up to snuff, you can see the original documents here. If not, helpful English summaries are this-a-way.
Included in the release is a gift for those of us who fixate on the media angle of news stories. As Slate’s Dave Weigel explained, the documents give us a nice picture of Bin Laden’s media strategy. Weigel’s takeaway is that in general, it was pretty inept. Bin Laden and his advisors had a very rudimentary understanding of how the American media worked, beyond an (arguably accurate) fear that America’s obsession with our failing economy was lessening our appetite for fresh terror stories.
That said, it’s still pretty interesting to eavesdrop as a Bin Laden advisor dishes on his opinions of various American news outlets. He complains that Fox lacks neutrality, says that CNN is just OK, and that MSNBC has fallen off since firing Keith Olbermann. NPR, sadly, doesn’t rate a mention.