Bin Laden, Twitter, And Gaudy Media Baubles

At 12.15pm yesterday afternoon, I turned on ABC News24 and was told that Barack Obama was due to appear on television at 12.30pm. There was no information on what he intended talking about.

Since this was 10.30pm on a Sunday night in Washington, you didn’t need to be particularly bright to work out that something was up. Obviously there was an announcement that couldn’t wait. Without really thinking about it, I assumed it was related to Afghanistan or Iraq.

I had work to do and didn’t get back to the television until 12.35pm. Obama had not yet appeared. I opened up my Twitter client, TweetDeck, and discovered reports that Osama bin Laden was dead.

By about 12.50pm, multiple media outlets were claiming they had confirmed these reports. Many of these claims were tweeted. Some tweets contained a link to a website report.

Between 12.30pm and 1.35pm when Obama finally appeared (at 11.35pm Washington time) most television stations and every cable network were all over the story. Twitter was heaving.

A number of people retweeted Keith Urbahn, Chief of Staff to Donald Rumsfeld. Urbahn is now seen as the man who first published the news about bin Laden.

During this time, I also became aware of a Twitter user @ReallyVirtual, who had unwittingly tweeted about the assault on bin Laden’s compound as it happened. Many hours later, I looked at his account, read the tweets, and laughed at his dry humour.

Keith Urbahn's tweet at 10.24pm Washington time, May 2, 2011

Tweet by @ReallyVirtual, May 2, 2011

By the time Obama appeared, I had read a number of articles on various US media websites, mainly CNN, Washington Post and The New York Times. The Times site was hard to reach, such was the traffic. Most of these articles had little to say, apart from claiming that various sources were anonymously confirming the death of bin Laden. Some ran profile pieces and timelines from 9/11. [Read more…]


The Death of Osama bin Laden: Gillard Comments

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has held a press conference to comment on the killing of Osama bin Laden.

  • Listen to the press conference (14m):

Obama Announces US Has Found And Killed Osama bin Laden

President Barack Obama has announced that United States military forces have located and killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for 9/11.

Obama made the announcement in a televised address to the nation at 11.35pm, Washington time. [Read more…]


Bush Delivers 2008 State Of The Union Address

President George W. Bush has delivered his seventh and final State of the Union Address to a joint session of the United States Congress.

President George W. Bush

  • Listen to President Bush’s final State of the Union Address:

Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Seven years have passed since I first stood before you at this rostrum. In that time, our country has been tested in ways none of us could have imagined. We have faced hard decisions about peace and war, rising competition in the world economy, and the health and welfare of our citizens. These issues call for vigorous debate, and I think it’s fair to say we’ve answered that call. Yet history will record that amid our differences, we acted with purpose. And together, we showed the world the power and resilience of American self-government. [Read more…]


Jeff Koopersmith: When A Tough Guy President Fails

Inviting Osama bin Laden to the Oval Office

By Jeff Koopersmith

As I was watching the somewhat obsessive Bob Woodward on “Charlie Rose” the other night, I was flabbergasted by Woodward’s insight when he said that Americans may re-elect George W. Bush because voters see him as a “tough guy.” His reasoning is that in these times, voters may believe that a roughhouse president is what the nation needs to combat what Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge believes will be an inevitable follow-up attack on the United States by Islamic fundamentalists, alive and well in Afghanistan and Pakistan despite what the White House tells us. [Read more…]