Thursday, January 05, 2006

Different Perspectives on Jose Padilla

Jose Padilla has been held as an “enemy combatant” for more than three years. He has been transferred from military custody to stand trial in Miami. CNN ran their own story and Fox News ran an AP story. Different perceptions are given of Padilla. CNN and Fox use different terms to describe him with CNN emphasizing his U.S. citizenship and Fox emphasizing his potential as a dangerous terrorist. Here are some specific examples:

CNN calls him a “terrorism suspect” which sounds a little milder than Fox’s “alleged Al Qaeda operative.” It is one thing to be a suspected terrorist but Fox connects him with Al Qaeda, an organization not mentioned in CNN’s article.

Further on this issue, CNN makes this statement:

Padilla was indicted in November on charges of conspiring to murder U.S. citizens and to provide material support to terrorists.

Fox, however, gives the information as follows, which again connects him with Al Qaeda and makes him sound much more potentially dangerous:

The charges do not involve the "dirty bomb" allegations, contending instead that Padilla joined a North American terror support network that sent him overseas to train with Al Qaeda and to "murder, maim and kidnap" people on foreign soil.

In the first sentence, CNN refers to Padilla as a “U.S. citizen.” Later it adds this quote from Padilla’s lawyer, Jonathan Frieman, “"I'm glad Padilla will be able to defend himself before a jury of his peers, like every other American." Fox only indirectly notes Padilla as a U.S. citizen with “The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to use Padilla's case to define the extent of presidential power over U.S. citizens who are detained on American soil on suspicion of terrorism.”

Little is noted of Padilla’s background in CNN’s article whereas Fox notes that Padilla is “a former Chicago gang member.”

Links to articles:,2933,180737,00.html

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