Brendan O’Neill knew that something sounded familiar in the ravings of Osama bin Laden. But it wasn’t until he dipped into Messages to the World—a collection of OBL’s greatest hits—that he located the source of the echo. He shares his revelation in this month’s media column (“The Shocking Truth About Osama bin Laden,” page 16.) O’Neill, who started his journalism career at the London-based magazine Living Marxism, now writes regularly for its online successor Spiked; his articles have also appeared in The Spectator, The Guardian, New Statesman, and Salon. He is writing a book about the role of the left in the creation of Al Qaeda.
Reason’s science correspondent, Ronald Bailey, knows how to stir up his readers: While reporting on business fraud in Costa Rica 15 years ago, he received four anonymous death threats. Happily, Bailey’s stateside journalism—in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, National Review, and many other publications—has yet to provoke threats of violence. In “Peak Oil Panic” (page 22), he tears into the myth that we’re about to run out of petroleum, noting that the fear of oil catastrophe is nearly as old as the industry itself. Bailey’s most recent book is Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution (Prometheus).
John F. Sugg is a senior editor for CL Newspapers, which owns the Creative Loafing and Weekly Planet alt-weeklies in Atlanta, Tampa, Sarasota, and Charlotte. And it was as an editor that he first encountered—and began to doubt—the self-styled muckraker Steve Wilson, whose high-profile attacks on Fox and Monsanto made him a media darling (“The Strange Case of Steve Wilson,” page 30). Wilson has made many dubious claims, but one whopper, shared on an Internet message board, required no research at all to expose. “He called me a ponytailed ex-hippie,” Sugg says. “I’m a suit-and-tie kind of guy. And I’ve been bald for the past seven years.” As he waits for Wilson to admit that he doesn’t have a ponytail, Sugg is working on a book about the anti-evolution crusade.