Media Fantasy Land; Terrorism as a Nonstory
Byline: Joel Mowbray, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
In the terrorism case of two young Egyptian nationals and University of South Florida students arrested Aug. 4 in South Carolina, fascinating twists and turns aound.
There's a secret recording of the defendants discussing strategy shortly after their arrest. There's a YouTube video in which one of the defendants gave instructions in Arabic on converting a remote-control toy into a bomb detonator, which one defendant allegedly told police was made to help people in Arab countries "defend themselves against the infidels invading their countries," specifically "against those who fought for the United States."
That's not all. The father of one of the defendants, Youssef Megahed, all but pointed the finger at the co-defendant, Ahmed Mohamed, as the sole culprit, thus implying that his son was ignorant or duped.
Yet this compelling drama has drawn scant attention from the mainstream media. And while apologists might attempt to write off the paucity of coverage for various reasons, a slew of other terrorism cases since September 11 have been met with the same media disinterest.
Following the arrests of Mr. Mohamed and Mr. Megahed on Aug. 4 with explosives in the trunk of their car - just seven miles from a naval weapons base in Goose Creek, S.C. - The Washington Post and New York Times made fleeting references. Each paper ran the brief overviews from the Associated Press, with no independent reporting.
After the federal government indicted the two defendants on explosives charges and Mr. Mohamed on terrorism-related charges, the Times devoted not even 500 words - on page 14, no less. That was actually more aggressive than The Post, which discussed the indictment, but only in the context of the revelation of the YouTube video, which included asking what might happen to the Internet giant.
Neither highly esteemed outlet reported the full contents in the trunk of the vehicle the pair was driving: a box of .22-caliber bullets, gun powder, several gallons of gasoline and 20 feet of fuse, PVC piping and a drill.
Neither paper even mentioned perhaps the most amusing part of the case: the conversation between the two defendants in the back of the police car after the arrest. Not knowing an audio recorder was capturing their words, the two had the following exchange:
"Did you tell them there is something in them?" Mr. Mohamed asked, presumably referring to the PVC pipes.
"Water," Mr. …