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Posts Tagged ‘Osama Bin Laden’

Debbie Does Abbottabad: Bin Laden Had A Porn Stash

What would you do if you were squirreled away at a secret compound for years on end with no hope of leaving and living a normal life? If your answer is watch a shit-ton of porn, you and Osama bin Laden have more in common then you probably thought. Reuters is reporting that soldiers who raided bin Laden’s compound found a “fairly extensive” trove of modern porn. Sadly, no specifics were given–although that hasn’t stopped some reporters from speculating on OBL’s preferences.

Guess this disproves Howard Stern‘s notion that peace in the Middle East is as simple as combating their sexual repression with boatloads of porn. OBL was locked up with a couple of wives and a whole lot of porn. He has about 18 kids. Something tells us sexual repression wasn’t his problem.

OBL’s porn locker does prove one thing, however: Hollywood and its influence may have a mixed perception globally, but the San Fernando Valley is loved the world around.


The AP’s FOIA Request for Osama bin Laden’s Death Photo

Last Monday, the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the photographic and video evidence taken during the raid on Osama bin Laden‘s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The Atlantic Wire interviews Michael Oreskes, senior managing editor at The Associated Press, about the impetus behind the request.

Oreskes said:

“It’s about us saying we would like to make our own news judgements about news worthy material.”

“We’re not deciding in advance to publish this material,” he pledged.  “We would like our journalists, who are working very hard, to see this material and then we’ll decide what’s publishable and what’s not publishable based on the possibly that it’s inflammatory.”

Ah. So it shouldn’t be up to the White House to decide whether or not the public should see this material — it should be up to the AP?

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New York Times Readers’ Reactions to Bin Laden’s Death by Gender and Nationality

The New York Times posted an interactive graph that allowed visitors to plot their feelings on Osama bin Laden‘s death with one axis going from “Negative” to “Positive,” and one from “Insignificant” to “Significant.”

Dan Nguyen put the 13,000 responses the Times received through a partway scientific analysis. His methodology:

I used Google Refine to quickly sort out the geographic locations (which varied from zip codes, to city/state, to neighborhoods, such as “Upper East Side”). Gender was not a checkbox in the NYT’s form, so I used Refine to sort based on first names.

The (again, partway scientific) result: female and non-U.S. Times‘ readers were more ambivalent to the news of bin Laden’s death.

The 260 non-U.S.-female respondents averaged a 43 in positivity, which is a whole step below the average female response. U.S. females (2,270 of them), averaged a 52, compared to the 6,059 U.S. males who averaged a 65.

That comes out in line with our expectations. A table of the results (with breakdowns also by U.S. cities) is after the jump.

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Does Tweeting Make You a Journalist?

After the raid on Osama bin Laden‘s compound was live-tweeted by Sohaib Athar, there has been a raging debate as to whether or not tweeting makes one a journalist. Are prestigious degrees from journalism schools — and jobs at storied institutions — totally unnecessary? Is a twitter account and being in the right place at the right time all it takes for you to put “Journalist” on your DMV application?

SF Weekly blogger Dan Mitchell argues that Athar is not a journalist, not even a “citizen journalist” (a lesser designation). Writes Mitchell:

For the most part, Facebook and Twitter aren’t organs of journalism, rather simply organs of dissemination (both of journalism and of sentiments like: “hell naw at 2 something n the morning i was tlking to somebody dat called me private lmao i was half sleep.”)

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The Osama Bin Laden Death Story’s Flawed Spin Job

Is the media to blame here, or the White House?

There has been a great deal of back-pedaling and rewriting and general muddling of the story of Osama bin Laden‘s death since it was first announced by President Obama on Sunday night. And everyone’s been looking the worse for it.

The Wrap provides a summary of the events:

  1. Sunday, May 1, 11:30 p.m. | President Obama Addresses the Nation, in Which We Learn of a “Firefight”
  2. Monday, May 2, 2:00 p.m. | John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Introduces “Human Shield” Myth
  3. Tuesday, May 3, 1:57 p.m.| White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “Bin Laden Was Unarmed, But Dangerous”
  4. Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 p.m.| CIA director Leon Panetta Says Bin Laden May Not Have Had a Gun, But Made “Threatening Moves”
  5. Tuesday, May 3, 8:27 p.m| Unnamed Senior Congressional Aide, Says Bin Laden Surrender Would Have Had to Take Place in the Nude (seriously)
  6. Wednesday, May 4 | U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Says All It Takes for Self-Defense Is No Surrender
  7. Wednesday, May 4 | The New York Times Reports There Wasn’t A Whole Lotta Shooting Going On in Abbottabad
  8. Thursday May 5|  Press Secretary Carney: Accuracy Was Another Casualty

Phew! It’s difficult to keep up. As The Wrap says, “Carney told the media that the administration was still in the process of cobbling together all the facts.”

Take a little time on this one, administration. Maybe do some fact-checking this time around. We’re in no hurry.

A Q&A with the New York Times Writer of Osama bin Laden’s Obituary

The centerpiece of the New York Times’ coverage on Osama bin Laden was the 4,000 word obituary that the paper had on file. One of the writers, Michael T. Kaufman, died in January 2010. Assistant editor Lauren Kirchner of the Columbia Journalism Review has a fascinating interview with the other obituary writer, Kate Zernike, about the process.

Apaprently the obituary had been written since November of 2001, as Zernike described, “when we thought Osama was going to be captured, and presumably killed, in a raid in the next couple of days. So as much as it was a project that waited around for ten years, it actually was written in some ways on a fairly tight deadline.”

Zernike said that sometime around 2003, she remembers speaking with an editor about how Bin Laden was “no longer this enormous figure, and so it would probably run one full page inside, but not the two full pages.”

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What Were Journalists Doing When the Osama bin Laden News Broke?

The death of Osama bin Laden is major news — and media outlets won’t let you forget it. “What were you doing when Bin Laden was killed?” is now replacing “What were you doing when Kennedy was assasinated?” in the media.

At National Journal, Gwen Ifill writes that:

My flight from Seattle had just touched down at Reagan Washington National Airport late on Sunday night when I turned on my BlackBerry. It immediately began buzzing with an alarming stream of e-mails and tweets.

She also puts together what other major journalists were doing when the news broke. Here are a few of the stories:

Washington Week regular Jeff Zeleny was watching The King’s Speech on pay per view at home. Helene Cooper was watching a DVR of the royal wedding. (Lots of anglophiles in the media!)

Another Times reporter David Sanger was in Brussels for a NATO story. NPR’s Tom Gjelten was on a late-night run to the drug store. Our favorite: James Kitfield of National Journal was in a Houston hotel room sipping from a glass of brandy. Coincidentally, so was FishbowlNY.

Just kidding. We were watching the Royal Wedding on DVR, too. We’re not that cool.

Update: Dylan Byers reports on what the top CNN journalists were doing when the news broke for Adweek: it turns out that they are some serious hockey fans. Wolf Blitzer was watching the Washington Capitals playoffs on TV when the story broke, and John King and Ed Henry were at the game. Apparently “Ed Henry went to the White House and had to borrow a jacket from someone.”

How Photos from Obama’s Speech on Bin Laden’s Death Were Staged

There is a fascinating piece at Poynter that describes how since the Reagan era (and possibly before) it has been the standard operating procedure that during a live presidential address, like the one President Obama gave announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, still cameras are not allowed to photograph the actual event.

Photojournalists from Reuters and AP described how President Obama basically had to silently re-enact part of his speech for the still cameras after giving it.

Reuters White House photographer Jason Reed writes:

As President Obama continued his nine-minute address in front of just one main network camera, the photographers were held outside the room by staff and asked to remain completely silent. Once Obama was off the air, we were escorted in front of that teleprompter and the President then re-enacted the walk-out and first 30 seconds of the statement for us.

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How Web Traffic Spiked after Osama bin Laden’s Death

How much does huge, breaking news like the death of Osama bin Laden affect web traffic? WWD looks at the spikes around the web starting at 11pm on Sunday night, right after President Obama announced that Bin Laden had been killed.

The New York Times‘ web traffic jumped 62% from 10PM to 11:59PM compared to previous Sundays. The Wall Street Journal‘s web traffic jumped 81% during the 11 PM hour over past weeks.  Time magazine page views were up 290 percent from the daily average.

And CNN, which had a traffic explosion, saw a 217 percent gain in page views from Sunday night to 1PM on Monday. Moreover, CNN reported that Monday was one of their 10 biggest days in history.

Let’s just see how long the story lasts.

Peter Bergen to Write Book on the Hunt for Osama bin Laden

Peter Bergen was a producer for CNN in 1997 when he produced Osama bin Laden’s first television interview, which has been widely replayed ever since.

As part of the scramble to cover Bin Laden’s death, the New York Times reports that, a mere 48 hours after the death was reported, it’s been announced that Bergen will write possibly the definitive book on the Bin Laden manhunt, tentatively titled… “Manhunt”. No chance that this will be the only book on the subject — prepare yourselves for an onslaught — but it may very well be the first.

Bergen has certainly earned the right; he’s the author of three books on terrorism and is now a national security analyst for CNN.

Crown Publishers, part of Random House, described the forthcoming book as  “an immersive, definitive account of the operation that killed the world’s most wanted man.”