Nothing illustrates the startling changes in global narratives and the discarding of old ones as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan does. From “Islamic militants” before the war to “holy warriors” and “freedom fighters” during and “terrorists” after, the Taliban have covered a lot of ground in the international media. The picture shows a leading U.S newspaper depicting Osama Bin Laden as a philanthropic peaceful freedom fighter, construing his violent methods as glorious victories. Publications like this built the narrative that saw the Taliban and Al-Qaeda receive millions in weapons and funds, and even direct training from the CIA. Today these publications go out of their way to vilify Osama Bin Laden, even going so far as to lead with the headline “He died cowering behind his wife”.

A similar story has played out in Syria. “Brave Syrian rebels” fighting against Assad’s atrocities have now become the “monstrous ISIS”, and the cycle continues. Before reading too much into such labels it should be remembered that tomorrow they may be completely different, and the news organization will not lose a cent.