The news Monday of a thwarted al-Qaeda plot to place another explosive device modeled on the "underwear bomb" that failed on Christmas Day 2009 might make a news consumer wonder: What ever happened to that terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab? On February 16, he was sentenced to life in prison for his attempt at mass murder. Did you miss it? The networks weren't very interested. Only ABC's World News filed a full evening-news report by legal reporter Pierre Thomas, but even that left out Team Obama -- especially Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claiming "the system worked" when it obviously didn't. Citizens foiled the attack over Detroit, not the government.
NBC never covered the life sentence in the evening. One 67-word brief by Amy Robach on "Today" was all they did. CBS Evening News mentioned it briefly, but here's one full Obama report they did instead, correspondent Norah O'Donnell explaining how White House tourists were "overcome with emotion" when Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance:
He may be playing hide-and-seek from drone missiles in the caves of Yemen, but Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki is still attempting to poison the minds of young Muslim Americans through the use of YouTube and other social media.
The extent of Al-Awlaki's reach on the internet is outlined in a new report released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Aug. 28. The report describes the millions of views garnered by Al-Awlaki's YouTube video clips and the online networking of his rabid fan base.
A former imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia, the American-born Al-Awlaki has increasingly been using social media as a recruiting method for would-be jihadists, leading terrorist watchers to dub him the "[Osama] bin Laden of the internet" and the "sheikh of YouTube." Al-Awlaki has been tied to the Sept. 11 hijackers, the Christmas Day bomber and the Fort Hood shooter. This past spring, President Obama ordered that the cleric be killed on sight, but the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on Aug. 30 to prevent the military from targeting the U.S. citizen without a trial.
According to MEMRI, after Al-Awlaki's personal website was shuttered in 2009, YouTube became the "largest clearinghouse of his online videos."
Ground Zero mosque organizer Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has been described by the media as a "moderate" and a "bridge-builder." But not too long ago, the same news outlets gave identical labels to a radical Virginia mosque that has been linked to some of the most infamous Islamic terrorist attacks in recent years. And it celebrated in the same terms a "prayer-leader" who is now one of the most wanted Al Queda terrorists in the world.
The Washington Post reported on the Dar al-Hijrah mosque 30 times from Sept. 11, 1983, to Sept. 11, 2001, and the big news stories about the prayer center were its popular summer camp, its charitable activities and its joyful celebrations of Muslim holidays.
But to federal investigators and watchdog groups, the big news about the Dar al-Hijrah mosque was that it was a magnet for some of the top names in terrorism - most recently including the Sept. 11 hijackers and the Fort Hood shooter.
The mosque's former imam, Anwar Al Awlaki has been tied to numerous terror attacks in the U.S., and is now serving as a top Al Qaeda leader in Yemen. Al Awlaki will be shot on sight if he is tracked down by the U.S. military, under an order given by President Obama this past April.
The progression of Anwar al-Awlaki – if not the most influential force in terror operations, certainly one of the more popular faces – from simple cleric to proud member of the ‘kill or capture’ list, has sparked little interest in the MSM from a threat aspect. Instead, it has prompted yet another interview from CNN with his father, begging the United States to call off the military.
Imagine Osama bin Laden being treated with kid gloves shortly after serving as the influential and inspirational leader of the 9/11 attacks. In contrast, presenting bin Laden’s side of the story was an overwhelming goal of the liberal media shortly after 9/11, with CNN leading the charge – so much so that it prompted Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center to write a column concerning the network’s willingness to ogle the Al-Qaeda leader.
According to Bozell, CNN’s desire to interview bin Laden (through Al Jazeera) clearly demonstrated that “it does not matter to them if their offer ends up harming the American war effort on terrorism by giving this terrorist an international forum to promote his propaganda.”
Curiously, that exact scenario is being played out in the current media as well – in reverse...
On Monday’s Rick’s List program on CNN, Slate’s Fred Kaplan attacked Republicans for politicizing national security, accused the GOP of being in an alternate reality, and blasted Sarah Palin for “talking...complete and utter nonsense.” Kaplan also wrote off the tea parties as not a “mass movement,” and, along with anchor Rick Sanchez, accused Palin of forwarding “anti-intellectualism.”
The Slate national security columnist, who is also a former correspondent for the Boston Globe, appeared as a guest during the last ten minutes of Sanchez’s program, just before the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Before introducing Kaplan, the CNN anchor set up the discussion by referencing the political debate over the granting of Miranda rights to attempted airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after his Christmastime arrest. Sanchez first asked the Slate writer, “Who’s doing the politicizing here?”