When most Americans were trying to figure out if it would be Donald Trump or “Desperate Housewives,” (Sunday is a TV night, right?) the president chose to make the most dramatic news release of his life.
Only it started as a tease, a stand by notice that lingered and made the imagination race. What could it be?
I knew it could only be about a death. Or that someone is dying. The current president? Not after the birther victory
Is Biden dead? Would we want to know that soon? The TV folks were restrained, as they should. Then someone mentioned national security, and I knew. It had to be something bigger than Biden. How about Osama bin Laden?
Where were you when you heard?
I regret I was flipping around watching the TVnewsers vamp. And while some preferred restraint (like Wolf Blitzer who wouldn’t go on without multiple independent sources), I had flipped to Geraldo on Fox as he confirmed the news and started high-fiving a guest in his studio.
I wasn’t sure that was appropriate.
I would have liked to have heard from the president first.
But in this digital age, speed is speed. Everyone knows a little something. Before the president spoke I was already constructing a birther joke: I tweeted it. It went something like…. The president is going to announce that Obama bin Laden is dead and the U.S. has the body. Donald Trump wants to know if its the long-form or the short-form.
Before the night is over, there are hundreds of similar variations on Twitter. Even Nick Kristoff of the NYT had a variation of “longform,shortform.”
And by the time the president was able say, “I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of nnocent men, women, and children,” he had been scooped.
But he’s still the big winner, even if the announcement on the West Coast at least, pre-empted all of “America’s Next Great Restaurant” and “Desperate Housewives,” but not Trump’s “Apprentice.”
No worries. The president still got the big show. He pre-empted the terrorist with his own real life “24.”