Hold off on awarding the Pulitzer Prize to Twitter, or to Sohaib Athar, the Pakistani man who unwittingly Tweeted details of the operation that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden, says Joe Flint in his Company Town blog.
What he was hearing, it turns out, was U.S. forces helicoptering in and out of Abbottabad. He had no idea that was what was going on, and he said as much in interviews after the raid and the discovery of his Tweets.
On his Sunday CNN show, Reliable Sources, looking at the media, host Howard Kurtz said of Athar: “I love the fact that this guy scoops the entire world.”
He did not scoop the entire world. He heard noise and posted something on Twitter about it. He didn’t know what the noise was, so how did he scoop the world? Even he acknowledged as much in an interview with NBC.
If Twitter had been around in November 1963 and a Dallas resident Tweeted, “Just heard gunshots,” would we say that person broke the story of the JFK assassination?