NBC Vs. War Criminals: Infotainment?


“Investigative Infotainment” is how Slate.com labels “The Wanted,” NBC’s TV series about chasing international war criminals and terrorists. July 20th’s first episode, about Mullah Krekar, is billed by NBC as a “groundbreaking television event.” Krekar is a supporter of Osama Bin Laden who the U.S. says has financed and directed insurgent attacks on American troops in Iraq. He lives in Oslo, but Norway hasn’t deported him for fear he’ll be executed if sent back to Iraq. Krekar was interviewed in 2003 by Newsweek, Slate media critic Jack Shafer notes.

The program’s July 27 episode travels to Germany “on the trail of Mamoun Darkazanli,” who is suspected of giving al-Qaida financial and logistical support in connection with 9/11, NBC says. Newsweek tried to interview him without success in 2007 for PBS. Shafer says that so far, the program “looks like an exploitative exercise in throwing a spotlight on what’s in plain sight and calling it investigative reporting.”

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