Osama Bin Laden Wasn't Really a Media Critic, Okay?

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Sprinkled between rants about mobilizing jihadi fighters and destroying the United States, there's an a lot of commentary about the American media in the recently released Osama bin Laden letters. Media types have been quick to blog and tweet about the names of media outlets, pundits, and shows that make bin Laden the Terrorist sound like bin Laden the Media Critic. The only problem is that Bin Laden probably didn't write these things.

Brett LoGiurato collected a few of lines at Business Insider like, "I used to think that MSNBC channel may be good and neutral a bit but has lately fired two of the most famous journalists – Keith Olberman and Octavia Nasser the Lebanese," reads one. "It should be sent for example to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN and maybe PBS and VOA," reads another one discussing where al Qaeda should send their message marking the tenth anniversary of September 11. "As for Fox News, let her die in her anger."

Unfortunately for the media geeks, these letters aren't quoting bin Laden's actual thoughts about Fox News and Keith Olbermann. Rather, they're channeling the disdain of American-born jihadist Adam Gadahn who advised Bin Laden on media matters. Back in March, The Washington Post's David Ignatius attributed the letter that includes the quotes about MSNBC, Fox News and the other networks not to Bin Laden but to Gadahn. The document itself doesn't provide any attribution. And while it might be amusing to imagine bin Laden leaning back and yelling at Bill O'Reilly and cheering on Olbermann's famous rants, it probably didn't happen that way. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.