The other day Noah posted on an upcoming cyber town meeting with al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zahwahiri. Putting on one of these events can be challenging. Allowing one month for supporters and apostates alike to submit questions and you’d need Allah’s help.
Blogger wrangler Jack Holt, DoD’s Chief of New Media operations, has sense of the challenge. Jack is the mind and force behind DoD’s Blogger’s Roundtable and while he’s not running CNN/YouTube debates, he’s running multiple teleconferences a week, sometimes more than one a day, with participants around the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq. He understands as well as any the hurdles the As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media will face, even if As-Sahab is coordinating with Al-Fajr Center, as the announcement tells us.
So Jack told this blogger offline that he’d offer his toll-free number used for the Blogger Roundtables to host a Zahwahiri call in. Maybe this post will be read by #2’s public affairs officer and he’ll have his people talk to Jack’s people (will a DoD shortage of translators be a snag in the negotiations?).
My money is the questions for this cyber town meeting will be vetted better than they were for the CNN/YouTube debates.
On the topic of New Media, I’ll be at the Army War College next month for a workshop appropriately titled "New Media and the Warfighter" (pdf).
P.S. No doubt Walter Pincus would report from that transcript…