Al Qaida's magazine might benefit from Osama bin Laden's media criticism

The Washington Post | Agence France-Press | The Atlantic Wire

Poor advance press today on the new issue of Inspire, a magazine for people leading a terrorist lifestyle from Al Qaida's Yemeni operation. Peter Finn writes that losing founding editors Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan to drone strikes has hurt the magazine: Both men were American citizens, and their knowledge of the language is missed in Inspire's pages. Finn writes:

But absent the two Americans, the magazine is riddled with clumsy English. To wit: “What does it take to be an effective urbanite assassin? This is an inquiry that recurs in the psyche of the personage who apprehends the potency of this policy upon his preys.”

An Agence France-Press report says the magazine suggests bombing Montana -- which could be a Slate pitch, I guess -- and notices the magazine is looking for a copy editor: "An ad in the eighth issue asks for 'persons who can help the Inspire team with research & translation.' "

Inspire once reportedly drew criticism from bin Laden himself, who apparently disliked a previous issue's suggestions about making farm equipment deadly. (There is a mainstream application for such journalism.) Bin Laden's reputation for media criticism is probably overstated anyway, Adam Clark Estes writes. A now-corrected Business Insider story attributed hostility toward Fox News and anger over Keith Olbermann's firing to the dead terrorist mastermind. Adam Gadahn, who "advised Bin Laden on media matters," Estes says, probably wrote those critiques.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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