Statement by Bill Schneider on Al Qaeda comments
Subject: from CNN/Bill Schneider
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004
From: Edna Johnson
To: Media Matters for America
A story on your site, "Osma bin Laden .... would very much like to defeat President Bush" , references CNN analyst Bill Schneider.
Mr. Schneider provided a statement in response to a similar story in the Columbia Journalism Review campaign desk yesterday. I thought your readers would find it useful. Would you please post the response, attributed to him, in an appropriate place on your site? Thank you.
CNN Public Relations
from Mr. Schneider:
"I am not a Bush supporter or a Kerry supporter. I have done plenty of stories critical of both candidates.
"In answering a question about Speaker Hastert's remarks, I was trying to make the point that, if al Qaeda wants to defeat President Bush, another attack on the U.S. would probably do just the reverse. I entertained the possibility that an attack might allow Democrats to argue that Bush's policies have made the U.S. more vulnerable. But I think the immediate reaction -- fear and anger -- would drive voters to Bush. The terrorists might believe otherwise because of their misreading of what happened in Spain.
"I was arguing by analogy to the 1980 campaign, when the Iranian hostage-takers aimed to defeat President Carter. I do not believe their goal in 1980 was to elect Ronald Reagan. It was to defeat the President of the United States because of his symbolic value, not because of any partisan preference. The day Carter left office and Reagan took over, the hostages were released.
"I believe al Qaeda may have similar goals: to defeat the President of the United States because of his symbolic value, especially one who has waged war against two Muslim regimes. Some viewers took that to mean al Qaeda favors Kerry -- something I did not say and do not believe. I never imagined I was making any kind of partisan statement and would not intentionally do so."