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Communications 101 in 2011: How the Death of Osama bin Laden Leaked to the TV Press. Plus Movie Versions Already in Works and Transcript/Video of Obama’s Speech

May 2, 2011  •  Post A Comment

UPDATED 6 a.m., PT, on May 21, 2011 to include the Reuters report.

This being 2011, Twitter played a role in how the press found out about the death of Osama bin Laden on Sunday night, May 1, 2011.

Writes Brian Stelter on The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog, "Wishful thinking about bin Laden’s death ricocheted across the Web — and then, at 10:25 p.m. [ET], while Mr. Obama was writing his speech, one particular tweet seemed to confirm it. Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, wrote at that time, ‘So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.’ Mr. Urbahn quickly added, ‘Don’t know if it’s true, but let’s pray it is.’ He was credited by many on the Web with breaking the news, though he did not have first-hand confirmation."

Stelter added, "Within minutes, anonymous sources at the Pentagon and the White House started to tell reporters the same information. ABC, CBS and NBC interrupted programming across the country at almost the same minute, 10:45 p.m. [ET], with the news."

In fact, Reuters is reporting that the very first word of the attack was in a tweet sent at the time the attack was happening, though the person sending the tweet didn’ t realize it.

Accordiing to the Reuters report, "[Soahib] Athar, a resident of Abbottabad where bin Laden was holed up, first noticed a helicopter and thought it unusual enough to post this on his Twitter account. "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," wrote Athar. Moments later, he added: "A huge window shaking bang here… I hope its not the start of something nasty."

Later, Reuters says, Athar tweeted,  "Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it."

Over at Deadline.com. veteran Hollywood film reporter Mike Fleming writes about some Bin Laden movies in the works: "I’ve learned that Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow in recent weeks has been preparing and starting to cast an indie movie with the working title ‘Kill Bin Laden’ while another movie project about the hunt for the Al Qaeda terrorist leader at a major Hollywood studio stalled back in 2006. Given tonight’s startling news, it’s clear that these may be the timeliest film projects in recent Hollywood history."

Certainly on Monday, May 2, some TV versions will also be talked about as well.

A number of web sites, including the officical White House site, have posted transcripts of President Obama’s speech about the death of Osama bin Laden. Click here to read the transcript of the speech. To see the speech, watch the video, below.

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