In a letter outlining al-Qaida's media strategy ahead of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the terror group's top spokesman expressed disdain for Fox News.
"From the professional point of view, they are all on one level—except [Fox News] channel which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks neutrality too," al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn wrote in the January 2011 letter. The paper was one of a selection of more than 6,000 pages of documents seized during the May 1, 2011, raid that killed Osama bin Laden, which West Point's Combating Terrorism Center released on Thursday.
Writing to an unknown recipient, Gadahn, an American, gives a detailed critique of U.S. media outlets, and brainstorms about where al-Qaida might focus its press efforts:
As for the neutrality of CNN in English, it seems to be in cooperation with the government more than the others (except Fox News of course). Its Arabic version brings good and detailed reports about al-Sahab releases, with a lot of quotations from the original text. That means they copy directly from the releases or its gist. It is not like what other channels and sites do, copying from news agencies like Reuters, AP and others.
I used to think that MSNBC channel may be good and neutral a bit, but is has lately fired two of the most famous journalists —Keith Olberman and Octavia Nasser the Lebanese—because they released some statements that were open for argument.
CBS channel was mentioned by the Shaykh, I see that it is like the other channels, but it has a famous program (60 Minutes) that has some popularity and a good reputation for its long broadcasting time. Only God knows the reality, as I am not really in a position to do so.
ABC channel is all right; actually it could be one of the best channels, as far as we are concerned. It is interested in al-Qa'ida issues, particularly the journalist Brian Ross, who is specialized in terrorism. The channel is still proud for its interview with the Shaykh. It also broadcasted excerpts from a speech of mine on the fourth anniversary, it also published most of that text on its site on the internet.
"In conclusion," Gadahn wrote, "we can say that there is no single channel that we could rely on for our messages. [They] may ignore them, and even the channel that broadcast them, probably it would distort them somehow. This is accomplished by bringing analysts and experts that would interpret its meaning in the way they want it to be. Or they may ignore the message and conduct a smearing of the individuals, to the end of the list of what you know about their cunning methods.
He added: "As for Fox News, let her die in her anger."
As was previously reported, the documents show that bin Laden ordered the assassinations of President Barack Obama and U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, but did not have the resources to carry out the killings.
"Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make [Vice President Joe] Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there," bin Laden wrote in a letter to one of his top lieutenants. "Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis."