As it turns out, Osama bin Laden wasn't just a video maker. He had actually become quite enthralled with television, especially when it came to seeing his own face on the little screen.
The bin Laden we grew to know and loathe appeared in a series of videos that were released one after another, sort of his version of a terrorist reality show. Interestingly, though, he had not released a video since 2007.
|Osama bin Laden
But now, thanks to a portion of a cache of materials that were retrieved from the walled compound by the extraordinary Navy SEALs unit that took bin Laden down, a selection of videos were recovered that included outtakes of Osama's propaganda presentations.
One video, titled "Message to the American People," was released without sound. The video shows the terrorist boss switching channels with a remote pointed at a satellite cable box. Officials have confirmed the presence of a satellite dish for television reception.
In a segment of the footage, bin Laden appears seated on the floor, watching himself on the tube. Clips also show him rehearsing for his onscreen moments.
It turns out that the videos were produced Hollywood-style, with written scripts, takes and retakes, redone until bin Laden was satisfied with the performance and lighting.
The al-Qaida leader even dyed his beard and precision cut it for the lens. Guess it proves that image is everything, even for terrorists.
It seems that President Barack Obama is obsessing over his image, too, and the White House is sparing no expense in trying to improve it. It has hired the best image booster in the biz — on the taxpayer's dime, of course.
In addition to the $600,000 plus for Obama's speechwriters to grease the teleprompter skids, the White House is laying out big bucks to hire Michael Sheehan, the most prominent media coach in the country.
A while ago Hillary Clinton dubbed Sheehan "an extraordinary media coach who made Herculean efforts to teach me to use the teleprompter." It was Sheehan who helped transform Hillary from shrill first lady to smooth-talking presidential candidate.
Sheehan has a unique background in the world of image consultants, which suits the Obama administration to a T. The man is a theater and drama expert, having earned a MFA from Yale School of Drama. Additionally, he serves as a Yale lecturer in Theater Management.
Before taking office, Obama made a pledge that he was going to end no-bid contracts by requiring competitive bidding on contract orders that exceeded $25,000.
That was then, this is now. Sheehan Associates, which has been providing occasional speech and consulting services to the White House since 2009, may receive more than $100,000 under a current contract.
After all, Hollywood stagecraft doesn't come cheap.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and has made several appearances there on landmark decisions. Hirsen is the co-founder and chief legal counsel for InternationalEsq.com. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood: www.youtube.com/user/NMHollywood.
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