Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Hate This CNN Al Qaeda Headline. It's Almost Propaganda.

I slept late and then started working on my novel, and for a minute, I dropped in on CNN and saw this headline, "Al Qaeda offers 'condolences' for innocent victims" and then the story's lead:
(CNN) -- On the heels of a U.S. announcement of a massive troop surge for Afghanistan, an al Qaeda spokesman Saturday appeared to be trying to improve the group's image in the region with a new audio message in English.
Now, that is news I thought. Hmm. Will I have to post a blog saying props to GWB because these terrorists wouldn't be afraid we were coming to Afghanistan and wouldn't be appearing to try to make amends if we hadn't left Iran in ruins?" And then I read the rest of the article, the next part of which says the following.
Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, appeared in a 17-minute video released on Islamist online forums ... Gadahn said al Qaeda "have condemned and continue to condemn" all attacks by Western powers or "secular political forces."

"We express our condolences to the families of the Muslim men, women and children killed in these criminal acts and we ask Allah to have mercy on those killed and accept them as shohadaa (martyrs)," he says in the video.
Per CNN, Gadahn is an American-born Muslim convert. The CNN article continues and quotes Gadahn making more apologies for killing Muslims.

The headline and lead are totally misleading, and the story is framed within the context of our surge in Afghanistan as though this guy's apology to Muslims was motivated by that and maybe they're concerned about the surge. It could be that Al Qaeda is saying to Muslims "don't blame us for the Americans coming because we love you," and maybe that's interesting and all, but the "innocent" victims headline should have included the modifier "Muslim" and so should the lead. It's a highly misleading headline and lead for an American audience.

Al Qaeda sees itself in a holy war, and it considers America a "Christian" nation. If the CNN article wasn't going to clarify that in the context of Al Qaeda rhetoric, then its headline, lead, and framing is almost propaganda, coming off as an attempt to sway readers that the surge has rattled Al Qaeda. Very Fox News of them.

I'm disappointed in CNN on this one. Gadahn is a propagandist for Al Quaeda, but does CNN have to play along with misleading story openers? Perhaps the video could be construed to be related mostly to Obama's surge, but other articles on Gadahn's video don't frame his speech the way CNN does, and so I'm wondering if an intern wrote CNN's article.

Consider these two articles on the 17-minute video speech.

AFP: Al-Qaeda 'not behind Pakistan bloodshed': US militant
AP: Al-Qaida denies killing civilians in Pakistan

No comments: