Almost since the moment President Obama became a senator, people have been unable to avoid mixing up his name with Osama bin Laden’s. Mitt Romney, Ted Kennedy, and John Ashcroft have made the gaffe. MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News have all committed the blunder on multiple occasions. One AP writer even did it right to Obama’s face. So on a night in which Obama and Osama were the two big names in one of the biggest news stories of the decade, it was bound to happen again. And it did. A lot.
There was the tweet by CBS’s Mark Knoller, who wrote, “Surprised if Hollywood types not up late putting together deals for a movie on the ‘Raid on Obama.’” There was the local Sacramento Fox affiliate that ran the words Obama Bin Laden Dead onscreen. There was Keith Olbermann, who, in the same post in which he mocked the aforementioned Fox affiliate, made the mistake himself when he wrote, “Mr. Bush personally de-prioritized the hunt for Obama.” After Obama’s address to the nation, an anchor for a D.C. Fox affiliate summed things up by saying, “President Obama … telling the nation and the world President Obama is, in fact, dead.”
Even foreign news outlets were getting in on the action. NDTV, an Indian TV station, while displaying a photo of Osama bin Laden, ran a headline in Hindi that announced “Obama was shot in the head.”
Worst of all, because it lacked any other context, was the tweet by MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell which read, simply, “Obama shot and killed per @JimMiklaszewksi.” It’s hard to think of a more unfortunate, possibly heart-attack-inducing typo.
Update: Commenter mattwilstein points us to Geraldo Rivera last night: “Obama is dead, I don’t care … what am I saying?”
Update II: Senator Susan Collins almost does it, stops herself.
Update III: CNN’s website reported today that there is “no indication Obama tried to surrender.”
Update IV: Mark Knoller just did it again. Seriously, Mark Knoller?
Update V: Rush Limbaugh made the mistake (at least) twice on his show today.
Update VI: Spike Lee can’t wait to see the photos of Obama’s body.