The unedifying squabble still ongoing over who killed Osama bin Laden has produced an unexpected problem for news broadcasters – reminding them of how apparently easy it is to get the al-Qaeda founder’s name wrong.
While two former US Navy Seals argue over exactly what happened during the momentous 2011 raid in Abbottabad, CNN produced a rolling news banner proclaiming that it was “Obama” – not “Osama” who was dead.
In a mistake that would have had thousands scrubbing their eyes in disbelief, the news channel spent a full 50 seconds reporting on a story about “Seal who claims he killed Obama under attack”.
The banner returned later in the episode of Erin Burnett’s OutFront show – which was dedicated to the story – but not before viewers had been given plenty of time to capture stills of the mix-up.
It’s not the first time the President has been confused with the terrorist leader – something which Mr Obama explicitly railed against in 2007 when Republican rivals kept “accidentally” confusing the two.
Perhaps CNN would have done well to pay more attention to the BBC’s Gavin and Stacey, which cleared up the issue back in 2009.
Either way, Twitter users were predictably remorseless in their enjoyment of CNN’s latest slip-up.
Wow the SEALs are out of control pic.twitter.com/g0F9Dvidbh— Jon Passantino (@passantino) November 8, 2014
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