Media Gaffe of the Year: the Obama/Osama Mixup

...and other mistakes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2011 12:30 PM CST
Media Gaffe of the Year: the Obama/Osama Mixup
This photo from Twitter shows one local Fox station's instance of the widespread gaffe.   (Twitter)

One is the president of the United States. The other was bent on destroying the United States. So you’d think Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden would be pretty easy to keep straight. But when the former announced the death of the latter, a really embarrassing number of news outlets couldn’t, and the ubiquitous "Obama bin Laden dead" gaffes that followed have been named Poynter’s top typo of the year. Every year Craig Silverman looks at the biggest media screw-ups; the other notable typos, errors, and gaffes he spotted include:

  • When Gabrielle Giffords was shot, many news outlets—starting, apparently, with NPR’s Twitter account—incorrectly reported that she had died.
  • The Willoughby News-Herald reminded residents to “turn your cocks back” to account for daylight savings time.
  • The Irish Daily Mail falsely reported that a missing university student had been found dead in a river, when he hadn’t been found at all. That undermined the search, with many locals giving up. The paper was ultimately banned from the university’s campus.
  • A Lilith Magazine pull quote accidentally read, “I wish the world would stop having Jews” instead of “I wish the world would stop hating Jews.”
  • Irish broadcaster RTE ran a story saying a Catholic priest had raped a woman and fathered a child in the process. The priest was forced to step down, but the story was later revealed to be completely false.
(Read more media stories.)

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