Thursday, October 28, 2004

Gaslight watch: ABC breaks extremely non-political terror alert story 

You know—the one first leaked to Sludge? (back)

Read all about Azzam the American:!

Or would that be Shazzam the American?

As usual with Bush, I don't know whether to puke or go blind. I guess I'm too reality based. The message seems, um, a little bit mixed to me.

Bush Logic
The Bush logic seems to be:

1. Bush has been President for 4 years

2. There's going to be a terror attack right before the election!

3. Therefore, only Bush can keep the country safe!


Does anyone else understand this reasoning? Because I sure don't.

Is the tape authentic?
UPDATE Oh, uh, authenticity. Here's what the vry mild-mannered Christian Science Monitor has to say:

A new videotape that has surfaced in Pakistan threatens a massive attack against the United States by a purported American member of Al Qaeda. It is not yet known if the tape is an authentic Al Qaeda production, but it bears enough resemblance that some experts are taking the tape seriously.

Well, we'll be anxiously awaiting the word from the Superscript and Times Roman experts on how it's possible to authenticate digital footage from a Pakistani (intelligence?) source on the eve of the election. Eh?

After all:

[It] shows a high degree of sophistication and bears the logo of Al Qaeda's video production house, As-Sahab.

Hey, it's got an AQ logo on it! Say no more! Say no more!

On the video, the unknown man's face is masked with a Palestinian scarf and sunglasses. He stabs the air with his finger, which appears to be fair-skinned, as he delivers his warning in American-accented English.

Couldn't Rove find an authentic Arab? Or is this some subtle, subliminal suggestion about "the traitors among us"?

ABC doesn't know the tape is authentic, releases it anyhow
Great to see the wingers frothing and stamping about ABC doing what CBS did. Oh, wait... Anyhow, here's a look into the hopes and dreams of the ABC producer handling this story:

Gretchen [Peters] a producer for ABC News, worked with local journalists to obtain a tape from an English-speaking militant threatening attacks on the US (see story). She says that this kind of work often means paying people to transport material from these remote locations. "We did pay a courier $500 for bringing us the video," Gretchen says. "He wanted much more, but we bargained him way down. Normally I pay about $200 when people bring videotapes from tribal areas like Waziristan. These guys incur expenses; it takes several days to make the trip." She says that other news organizations also pay for delivery of material.

Still, Gretchen is confident that this didn't compromise the integrity of the information on the tape. While she hadn't worked with this particular courier before, most of the people she uses are local Pakistani journalists who work for reputable daily newspapers and radio stations. "Some people speculate that the tape is a hoax made by people who wanted the cash, but $500 would be a paltry sum to get for the amount of work that went into making that video," Gretchen says.

Oh, Gretchen. Gretchen, Gretchen, Gretchen. The question isn't whether your source made the video for $500. The question is, who made the video for the source? And why oh why did they have to use an Arabic speaker with an American accent?

"The speaker is fluent in English, is extremely articulate, the subtitling is in perfect Arabic, and he makes all the Al Qaeda arguments."

Wow! Good production values! Whoever made the tape had plenty of money! That proves the tape is authentic!

Gretchen agrees that ABC, which had not aired the tape by the time the Monitor went to press, must proceed with caution, especially in the wake of CBS News mistakenly using forged documents in a story critical of President Bush. The ABC tape features an anonymous speaker that the CIA can't identify. "We need to be 100 percent sure, but there are a lot of markings that indicate it is an Al Qaeda video," she says. "I feel it is the real deal. And I'm still hoping we can prove it."

We still hope we can prove it's real.... Oh. My. God. Man, that sure is proceeding with caution!

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

The essential Atrios makes two good points here: (1) Remember the good old days, when Condi said that the networks shouldn't air AQ tapes? What's changed between then and now, I wonder? (2) Drudge's source for the tape was doubtless VWRC operative and winger whore Chris Vlastos. Of course.

Out of the mouths of babes....
In fact, even the freepers think it's fake!

Wonder how long it will take for that post to be wiped? Perceptive comment on the Rovian subliminalness, though—the "traitors among us" would, of course, be gay.

Department of Cheap Little Ironies
The tape comes out on the same day that Bush pulls a doctored campaign ad. And the beauty part? The ad was named "Whatever it takes." Heh.

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