Wednesday, May 03, 2006

UH 330 Media Review No. 5

An episode of the Boondocks summed it up perfectly. In the episode “The Real,” Riley convinces a reality show to pimp his grandfather’s ride, proclaiming at the end, “For 9/11!” It’s a phrase that has come to be used nearly constantly, justifying practically everything.

Today, Zacarius Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the September 11th, 2001 attacks. CNN notes that Moussaoui’s conviction was the first related to September 11th, 2001. How far have we come? Nearly five years later, and we have one conviction. CNN notes that Moussaoui’s predictably asked the jury to avoid giving the death penalty, with the creative reason that Moussaoui would then become an al Qaeda martyr. The CNN article also dwells in depth on Moussaoui’s alleged mental illness, and various epithets he threw at those in the courtroom during his sentencing, such as “America, you lost. I won.” It also notes how Moussaoui wished the attacks had lasted for days, saying We can go on and on. Like they say, no pain, no gain.”

The article at Al Jazeera, while attempting to maintain neutrality on its face, seems to view the American government rather unfavorably. The article refers to the September 11th, 2001 attacks as “suicide jetliner hijackings,” and implies that the jury was rebellious when determining its sentence, “rebuffing” the American government and its pleas for the death penalty. The article also notes that the judge, who must officially dole out the verdict, is bound by the jury’s decision, almost implying that the judge might decide differently if he were allowed. Al Jazeera points out that this was the sixth case since the death penalty was restored in that particular courthouse which resulted in a sentence other than death when the prosecution sought it. The motivation? Perhaps to, once again, paint an American jury as rebelling against its government. Or perhaps to show Americans as weak, which seems reasonable considering that capital punishment is allowed in many Middle Eastern nations. They went on to note, unlike CNN, how the defense brought up the mishandling of information by the FBI and other agencies that might well have prevented the attacks in the first place.

And then there is Fark. When news of Moussaoui’s life sentence was released to its main page, readers of Fark went nuts, so to speak. The headline read “Jury sentences Moussaoui to life in prison without the possibility of martyrdom”. The first response? “What a joke.” A quick skimming of the comments shows just how strongly people still feel about the September 11th, 2001 attacks. “Let him rot. It’s better than killing him now.” “No virgins for you biznatch!” “The rest of his life will be funded by the American Taxpayer. Stupid.” “I say stab him once for every person that died on 9/11, then dip him in acid.” Others claimed that Moussaoui used reverse psychology, telling jurors that he wanted to die and in effect securing his continued life. The discussion quickly degenerates into a flamewar, with people suggesting all sorts of unconstitutional things in order to secure our freedom. For 9/11, indeed.

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