01 November, 2004

Quality journalism / apologia for bin Laden

Here is CNN's transcript of bin Laden's recent public appearance. (Should I say "President bin Laden"? He seems to have more decision-making authority over American affairs than Bush does.) Meanwhile, here is the actual, unexpurgated transcript made available by al-Jazeera. Curiously CNN does not bother to inform you that theirs is crudely hacked up (excluding such tidbits as praise of Robert Fisk, or mention of sources where you can find other of bin Laden's exegetical interviews). Lovely people.

I rather like bin Laden as a speaker. He's always incisive, and I think it's only sheer blind hate for him that prevents people from taking him seriously. I find him compelling in the same way I found Timothy McVeigh compelling We're told that these men are inhuman monsters, that their malice comes from an ideology of pure hate, from unadulterated evil.

But this is wrong: I think, oddly enough, the most frightening monsters amongst us are the most human of all. To pretend they are beasts is only meant to excuse ourselves; when WE slaughter, we do it out of compassion, not bestiality.

Addendum: I was totally mistaken on the reason for the varying transcripts. Apparently CNN's was based on al-Jazeera's initial, edited airing of the tape, and al-Jazeera later released a full transcript. But I still think CNN is a bunch of bastards.

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