One Bin Laden tape in four months has a tremendous impact, a dozen Zawahiri tapes in two months has considerably less. In Zawahiri's Q+A, he repeatedly answered questions with an irritated "I already answered that in last month's speech" or "bin Laden already answered that in his speech." That suggests that too many messages dilutes the impact. It also reduces the likelihood of massive media coverage, since the messages become routine. The same applies for the Iraqi insurgency videos: the first exploding hummer might be thrilling, but the 76th not so much.
That's the always-interesting Marc Lynch writing about the limits of the jihadists' online efforts. They bear a striking resemblance to the limits of everyone else's online efforts. Here's some more:
I come across quite a bit of posturing and bravado in these forums, hating on 'enemies' and back-patting of 'allies'. The recent initiation of an 'al-Jazeera watch' feature on one of the forums tracking perceived slights and misrepresentation by the now maligned station reminds me of nothing so much as the partisan media criticism found on so many political blogs. There's a lot of posting of articles or news reports clipped from the media, with long comment threads of cheering or jeering. I remember seeing a bitter post on one of the main forums a few weeks ago (al-Boraq? I forget) complaining that the "internet jihad" had failed since the forum had degenerated into personal attacks and what we would call flame-wars.
Whole thing here.