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Why Al-Zawahri Would Fail as a Talk Show Host

Al-Qaeda's No. 2 may be a heck of a terrorist — but he wouldn't succeed on radio.

by
Steve Gill

Bio

November 19, 2008 - 3:55 pm
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The number two guy in al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, has just released a new video/audio attack on President-elect Barack Obama and America. The 11-minute, 23-second video features the audio message by al-Zawahri, who appears only in a still image, along with other images, including one of Obama wearing a Jewish skullcap. Ayman may be a heck of a terrorist, but in terms of vitriol, creativity, insult, and nuance he would be a lousy talk host.

First of all, a demo tape that runs nearly 12 minutes would be too long for a busy program director looking for new talent. He needs to tighten the message and keep it to around five to seven minutes of his “best stuff.” Inflection, passion, and intensity all seem to be lacking as well, though perhaps some things are lost in translation. Nevertheless, he certainly needs more “punch” in his delivery to make it as a host in either morning or afternoon drive time.

Second, Ayman shows a disturbing lack of creativity. In one of his anti-American riffs he notes: “America has put on a new face, but its heart full of hate, mind drowning in greed, and spirit which spreads evil, murder, repression and despotism continue to be the same as always.” Come on Ayman, Keith Olbermann spews more venomous rhetoric than that on an off day.

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