Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Value of Al Qaeda Propaganda 

is quite limited.

This morning I've seen a few rants that Zawahiri and Bin Laden's new videotapes are smashing propaganda coups. They demonstrate that they are alive, that they can recruit, that they aren't broken, etc. etc. etc. They can namecall. They can threaten. So what?

Regular readers know that I am an avid follower of facts, and care markedly less about the media's take on the facts - since they typically get them wrong, and besides are more focused on their particular axe than transparent communication. I feel pretty much the same way about propaganda. Many folks make it out to be determinative, but I think propaganda really only works in the end if it's consistent with reality. Everybody remembers Leni Riefenstahl as a brilliant propagandist for Hitler. And she was. Name an American propagandist of the same era. But we know how that story ended, don't we?

Videotapes from UBL and Zawahiri do not in any event measure up to Leni Riefenstahl and Hitler. Not even close. Not even with Al Jazeera helping. Or CNN International. Why?

It's not for lack of trying. But imagine if Hitler had asked Riefenstahl to make a film of him in his bunker. It would not have been so compelling, right? The mere fact that he was in hiding someplace spoke poorly of his cause, especially since he was a head of state. While Hitler was in a bunker, FDR, Churchill and Stalin were moving freely, conducting meetings, visible to the press and their constituents.

UBL and Zawahiri and Zarqawi have no constituents of record. They control no state apparatus. They are in hiding. Moving constantly to evade capture. And while they haven't yet been hit, there is little question they are being shot at. Zawahiri's tape was little more than him saying "hah, you missed me." He might have well have said, "phew, but you got my 4 brothers". UBL had been out of sight for a year; people were beginning to mumble that he might be dead.

Here's an amusing irony. Tonight, our President will stand before Congress and deliver the annual State of the Union Address. He will have a block of time on major networks and cable channels. He will speak for an hour. He will do so in full public view before cameras and the press. The speech, and fragments of it, will be seen all over the world by God knows how many people.

The speech will be criticized from the four corners of the world. It will enrage the left. Every nuance will be subject to some pundit's excruciating "analysis." No one will remark that it is "propaganda" or has that degree of value. UBL and Zawahiri are the masters of Al Jazeeran propaganda. But not us. We're clumsy. Besides, Bush can't speak and says nucular.

Then on Sunday another American event will be broadcast around the world and seen by a billion+ people, for at least 3 hours and maybe many more. They will probably be wearing Levi's or some other American blue jean. Drinking Coke. Ordering in from McDonald's or Domino's or something. The national anthem and probably "America the Beautiful" will be sung before the game. A couple of years ago it would have been Ray Charles singing. It will be likely be a new global icon of American music. But of course our culture is anathema to the rest of the world. They hate us you know.

Those Al Qaeda geniuses are such good propagandists.


By Anonymous larwyn, at Tue Jan 31, 02:47:00 PM:

Great post. Face it the
LSM is really illiterate.
They say that the Repubs are
using a "politics of fear"
- exagerating terrorist threat. Then they say how
powerful the AQ is - GW can't get them.

Does anyone actually read what they spout at the LSM

Although they wished she had been a better Dem and picked last Friday:

Coretta King died today.

~10:55EST, minutes before the Alito vote, Teddy Kennedy was on CNN saying
they voted against Alito
because of Coretta King.

Natually the CNN "anchor"
smiled and nodded agreement.

(Sure Kerry,Kennedy,Clinton,
Obama and the Networks are saying "Darn if only she were a muslim - we'd have a great reason to skip the
SOTU and to have split screen coverage. Damn!)

We had the Zawahiri video yesterday - so today they put up the death of Mrs. King.  

By Blogger Lanky_Bastard, at Tue Jan 31, 03:32:00 PM:

Nice perspective. I've long claimed our cultural greatness will defeat Islamoterrorism. Brittney Spears, Jack Daniels, and the 10,000 subversive pleasures of freedom that broke the Cold War. That's what terrorists are afraid of most.  

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