In the rush to cover the biggest “breaking news” story of the day, countless media outlets also made the biggest typo of the day, and blithely announced that “Obama bin Laden is dead”.
And there’s no language bar on the confusion. According to video grabs posted online, NDTV India ran graphics – in Hindi script – announcing that “Obama ke sir par goli lagi”, which translated, reads, “Obama was shot in the head.”
After U.S. President Barack Obama made the televised announcement that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was dead, an anchor for American news channel Fox made the ultimate gaffe on air. In 16 seconds of infamy that has been seen across the world thanks to YouTube, he told viewers, “President Obama is in fact dead.”
Another Fox News affiliate channel carried a breaking news graphic with the same message: “Reports: Obama bin Laden dead”.
Given that Fox is a conservative news outlet well known for its criticism of the American president, the blogosphere reverberated with conspiracy theories and accusations of bias.
However, it seemed to be a common mistake, with screenshots showing that ABC News and a CBS Radio journalist had also goofed up.
Perhaps highlighting that those who live in glass houses should not be too eager to throw stones, liberal commentator Keith Olbermann called out the Fox gaffe on his website — just one sentence after he made the same typo himself, writing that “Mr. Bush personally de-prioritized the hunt for Obama.”
In fact, it is an old error dating from Mr. Obama’s emergence on the American political stage. Both senior Democratic leader Ted Kennedy and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have flubbed his name on occasion, and in a 2007 show on the whereabouts of the terrorist, CNN carried the caption, “Where’s Obama?”
With Osama being buried at sea on Monday, perhaps Mr. Obama’s name will be left alone in the media headlines of the future.