By DALE McFEATTERS
Scripps Howard News Service
May 25, 2006
There is much less invective and, in this latest, none of the usual threats. Instead, he was commenting on recent events: U.S. defense spending - way too high; President Bush and the Republicans - not treating people fairly; the Palestinian government - restore its funding; Zacarias Moussaoui - he wasn't in on the 9/11 plot, but - and here comes the teaser - "two of the brothers" currently at Guantanamo Bay were. It's an old trick: Always leave your listeners wanting more.
You can see what the crafty terrorist is up to. He wants his own talk show.
In a weird kind of way, it makes sense. He has the name for it. "Osama!" It's almost like "Oprah." And his top aide has the perfect name for a sycophantic sidekick. It is "Ayman." Instead of "hi-yo!" at opportune moments, Ayman could ululate, fling sweets into the audience or fire an AK-47 into the studio ceiling. Top that, Savage Nation.
Paranoia is stock in trade for the more rabid talk-show hosts, convincing their listeners that the host is standing up for them against a nefarious horde of elites, liberals and secular humanists. Last Christmas, for example, various talkers managed to convince people who constitute 84 percent of this country's population that they were a beleaguered minority. Bin Laden doesn't need paranoia. People really are out to get him. How many talk-show hosts can boast that Bush wants them killed on sight?
While some hosts have the politics of cave dwellers, bin Laden actually does dwell in a cave.
A title shouldn't be too hard. "The Osama Factor." "Bin Laden Country." "Laden & Zarqawi." "Hand Grenades with Osama bin Laden." Rush has his Dittoheads. Jim Rome has his Clones. Osama could have his Martyrs. (Not real martyrs, because it's not good for ratings to have your audience killing itself off.)
Not to prejudge the show, but it might go something like this:
(No theme music because his Taliban supporters don't believe in it. And no studio audience because a crowd might attract cruise missiles.)
"Martyrs, mullahs, jihadis and even you unbelievers, it's the ol' Evildoer himself comin' atcha, spewing hate, venom and violence to 20 million listeners!"
There's a burst of automatic weapons fire.
(Slightly off-mike.) "I told you not to do that, Ayman. Now my desk is covered with dead bats."
(Back to his audience.) "First, I'd like to send props to Mahmoud, my boy in Iran. Way to taunt the Great Satan, big guy. But a word to the wise. I'd go easy on the nuclear threats. George Bush hasn't invaded an Islamic country in three years now, and I'll bet the head crusader is starting to get antsy. But, hey, if things don't work out, there's always a place for you in the cave.
"Let's go to the phones. Pat from Topeka."
"Thanks, Osama. Longtime listener, first-time caller. What do you think about Hillary Clinton as the next president? Do you think she'd go easier on you than Bush?"
"I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I'm with Rush on this one. That shrew ought to be locked up in the kitchen, out of sight, out of mind. Having three wives of my own, I know where I'm coming from. May pigs trample on your grave, Pat.
"Dave from Kansas City."
"Yeah, thanks, Osama. I'm a big Royals fan, but I got to tell you our pitching is terrible. Don't you think we could trade for a Curt Schilling or Roger Clemens type?"
"Dave, there are only two ways to get decent pitching - write the big check or grow your own. I don't see the Royals writing a big check and I don't see anything in your farm system. Sorry, buddy, you'll just have to suffer. May dogs savage your corpse.
"Well, friends, I hear the sounds of U.S. Special Forces in the valley, and that's our cue to go. Until next time, be well and, while we no longer wish death to our infidel listeners, we do wish upon them a vague sense of unease. This has been 'Your Date with Osama.' "
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Scripps Howard News Service.