Revisiting the Very First, Very Wrong Reports on Bin Laden’s Death
For all the news reports that have called out the Obama administration for revising, retreating, overhauling or otherwise “backpedaling on the narrative” of bin Laden’s death, it’s worth revisiting an earlier episode of error.
In the hour or so leading up to the president’s announcement, many news organizations and journalists, in a race to be first, advanced wildly inaccurate versions of a developing story—enough to create an alternate history of what happened.
CNN, for instance, tweeted that it had spoken with “congressional and administration officials” and been told that Osama bin Laden was “killed in Afghanistan.” This seemed to have been repeated by Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Situation Room. It was also repeated on Twitter by former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who later corrected the mistake, calling it a “typographical error.”
Fox News International Correspondent Mike Tobin checked with news sources and tweeted that they were all in sync: Bin Laden was “killed a week ago,” he said, and the “delay was waiting for DNA match.”
The reported causes of the bin Laden’s death were also all over the board. CNN’s John King speculated that it was a drone.
ABC more than speculated—it initially attributed the reporting to its own investigative correspondent: “Bin Laden killed in the drone strike last week that killed more than 20 people, he was among them, @BrianRoss reports.” Its senior foreign correspondent tweeted the same news and later corrected.
That’s just to name a few. Chime in below with any we missed.
Our Hottest Stories
- Segregation Now
- Beyond Ratings: More Tools Coming to Pick Your Doctor
- Rocky Mountain High or Reefer Madness? Legal Pot in Colorado Comes with Risks
- Even After Doctors Are Sanctioned or Arrested, Medicare Keeps Paying
- Long After Sandy, Red Cross Post-Storm Spending Still a Black Box
- Shake-Up Inside Forensic Credentialing Org
- Brooklyn DA Moves to Free Man after Long-Buried Evidence Surfaces
- The U.S. Government: Paying to Undermine Internet Security, Not to Fix It
- How the Labor Department Has Let Companies Off the Hook for Unpaid Internships
- What Newly Released Docs Tell Us About the IRS and How It Handles Dark Money Groups