How the media used to write about Osama bin Laden

Originally posted by @benphillips76 on Twitter:

Here is a link to the original article, which contains this interesting paragraph:

But what of the Arab mujahedin whom he took to Afghanistan – members of a guerrilla army who were also encouraged and armed by the United States – and who were forgotten when that war was over? ‘Personally neither I nor my brothers saw evidence of American help. When my mujahedin were victorious and the Russians were driven out, differences started (between the guerrilla movements) so I returned to road construction in Taif and Abha. I brought back the equipment I had used to build tunnels and roads for the mujahedin in Afghanistan. Yes, I helped some of my comrades to come here to Sudan after the war.’

Well, Mr. bin Laden, you may not have seen evidence of American help, but here are your mujahedin brothers meeting with Ronald Reagan:


And the fact that Reagan sent truckloads of weapons (including 1000 anti-aircraft Stinger missiles) to the militant Muslim fighters in Afghanistan was and is well known. Sylvester Stallone even made a movie about it.

The whole mess is a pretty clear-cut example of the Chomsky/Herman propaganda model’s fear filter: the idea that the press goes to great lengths to depict official enemies of the US as the Worst Monsters Ever, while the enemies of those enemies are depicted in a more positive light as long as they are also our allies. But as soon as they become our enemies in turn, they are suddenly the new Worst Monsters Ever.

Other clear-cut examples include Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin. This is part of the reason it’s a little difficult for me to get too worked up over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, currently depicted by our brave, reliable, independent, watchdog media as the Worst Monster Ever.

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