In its special marking the fifth anniversary of the sniper attacks, the network downplays the religious angle to the story in a reprise of its original shameless coverage.
When news of the snipers' identity first broke, CNN anchors were so determined to avoid making the obvious connection to radical Islam that they called the lead sniper, a Muslim convert, by his old name. Police were looking for John Allen Muhammad, but CNN insisted on referring to him as John Allen Williams.
In their own words, Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo traveled across the country to terrorize Washingtonians on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
Muhammad and Malvo, now in prison in Virginia, still managed to kill 10 and wound three — including an elementary school kid shot in the back — while paralyzing the nation's capital for three full weeks.
The jailhouse drawings of the younger sniper, Malvo, tell it all:
• One sketch of Osama bin Laden exalts him as a "Servant of Allah."
• A self-portrait of him and Muhammad is captioned: "We will kill them all. Jihad . . . Allah Akbar!"
• A sketch of the burning Twin Towers has as its caption: "America did this. You were warned."
• A poem scribbled alongside an American flag and star of David drawn in cross hairs reads: "Our minarets are our bayonets, Our mosques are our baracks, Our believers are our soldiers."
• The Quran (Surah 2:190) is quoted as follows: "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you and slay them wherever ye catch them." Also: "Islam the only true guidance."
• The White House is drawn in cross hairs, surrounded by missiles, with the warning: "Sep. 11 we will ensure will look like a picnic to you," and "you will bleed to death little by little."
• Another warning reads: "Islam. We will Resist. We will conquer. We will win."
Somehow CNN's "special investigations unit" managed to overlook this pile of courtroom evidence. It showed only one drawing — a self portrait of Malvo shedding tears.
CNN also omitted the fact that while Muhammad and Malvo were in county jail awaiting trial, their lawyers insisted they be fed Islamic "halal" meals, such as veggie burgers, instead of ham sandwiches. They also got copies of the Quran.
According to Knight Ridder and others reporting at the time, the director of a shelter where the two men stayed for a spell in Washington state tipped off the FBI that Muhammad "might be a terrorist."
That incident mysteriously disappeared from an interview that CNN host Soledad O'Brien conducted with the same source for the special.
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