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Who Broke the Osama Bin Laden News on Twitter?

May 2, 2011

2 Min Read
Who Broke the Osama Bin Laden News on Twitter?

By samdizzy

For the first time in recent memory, I wanted to get to a TV. President Obama was scheduled to make a major announcement involving National Security at 10:30 p.m. eastern. I was stuck at the airport in Las Vegas, trying to grab a cab and heading to the Kaseya Connect User Conference at the Four Seasons. Meanwhile, multiple rumors were floating across Twitter. Most alleged that the United States had killed Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11 Terror Attacks.

I called one of my best friends back in New York — Diganta (“Digs”) Majumder. Digs was one of my first editors back at InformationWeek (1992-1996) and he also scored me a position at Windows Magazine (1996-1998). Digs is a news hound who enjoys political debate. On a hunch, I figured Digs was tuned to CNN awaiting President Obama’s address. Sure enough, Digs picked up on the first ring.

He asked me: “Are you watching this?”

My reply: “Nope, I’m stuck in a Las Vegas cab. Did they really get him?”

Digs, the consummate journalist, said there were rumors everywhere about Bin Laden’s death. But as of about 10:15 p.m. eastern, none of the major news organizations had publicly confirmed the story.

Still, the news was already leaking out on Twitter. By 10:25 p.m. eastern, Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Tweeted: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.” You can get the minute-by-minute rundown from The New York Times, which tracked all the online chatter as the news unfolded last night.

I finally got to a TV in time to see President Obama deliver the news to the world. The U.S. had, indeed, killed Osama Bin Laden. Twitter may have broken the news. But for me, the image of President Obama — speaking on TV from the White House — made it real.

Now that the news is official, let us never forget those we lost on 9/11.


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