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Did Fox News really say “Obama bin Laden dead”?

President Obama announced tonight that terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. operation. Wow! It’s a moment of great relief, like a resolution to a dissonant chord that’s been humming in the background since 2001. Yet after all this time, why can’t everybody keep from misspelling Osama bin Laden as Obama bin Laden? Check out this incredible typo:

The photo above, via the Twitter feed of @KyleHudgins, shows a screen grab of a news bulletin from KTXL in Sacramento, California. It says “OBAMA BIN LADEN DEAD.” Seriously.

Other Twitter users, including @YopInMyWhiteTEE posted similar shots from the same station:

But neither of those photos got as much attention on Twitter as a photo tweeted by Sarah Spain, an anchor for ESPN1000 radio in Chicago:

It’s obviously from the same broadcast from KTXL; note the tie. But Spain tweeted this caption: “WOW. Read closely – typical Fox News.”

Spain is wrong. “Fox News” is shorthand for the Fox News Channel. And as much as we all love to beat up on it, the Fox News Channel deserves no blame for this mistake. This was a local TV flub.

Spain later tried to defend her mistake, tweeting: “there was nothing false about my tweet. said fox news – and not the first time any fox news station has said obama bin laden.” Later, she tweeted an apology: “Not gonna argue politics w/ people, so don’t bother. Sorry if tweet was misleading-it was a Fox News station, I have since posted affiliate.”

She is correct about one thing: Fox News has made this same mistake before. At one point Fox News was so besieged by Chyron typos that management declared “zero tolerance for on-screen errors.”

More goofs from the Osama bin Laden coverage:

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Related post: Obama and his “Spike the Football” quote

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under News & Journalism, Politics


  1. Mark says:

    They can argue this mistake was a local affiliate, but they still messed up Nationally in the United States by misspelling “Osama bin Laden” with “Usama bin Laden.” And they think they are the “best in news.” Come on! They are supposed to be “journalist?” They can’t even spell!

  2. Daryl Lang says:

    That seemed strange to me too, Mark, since Fox News and most other networks usually spell it “Osama.” But it’s not necessarily a mistake. Usama is just a different translation, used by the FBI. http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/usama-bin-laden

    • Justin says:

      FWIW, Fox has spelled it “Usama” since at least 2001. They don’t usually spell it “Osama.”

  3. John says:

    It WAS a local affiliate. Probably typed by some back-room lackey who was staying awake with a gallon of coffee. And try paying attention to all the other “news” channels that did the same thing…a channel in Spain, MSNBC, and CBS. It’s a common slip-up being only one letter different. Give me a break with the Fox bashing, trolls.

  4. It sounds like a bunch of idiots to me and
    I agree; these ‘news people’ absolutely should all be FIRED for this grotesque mistake!

  5. Wise Old Owl says:

    I am sorry you don’t understand the level of deception Barack Hussein Obama will go to. Fox News actually got it right, in fact. You’ll never hear about this in the main stream media and only on Fox, but the reason Barack Obama killed Bin Laden was in fact because both Osama and Obama are actually brothers, both born of the same mother in Kenya. Both of them are funded by violent terrorist organizations bent on turning our country into a socialist state and spelling America with a “K”. Barack had to kill Bin Laden for his brother was on the verge of telling everyone the dark secret: that Bin Laden and Obama are kin and neither of them are U.S. citizens and that Donald Trump’s hairpiece was made from 100% Gorilla fur. Apparently, Bin Laden was also on the verge of revealing that Obama made a B+ at Harvard Law School insted of all A’s as was originally thought. And, Obama also dated women during college and was in fact one of the few heterosexual men on the Harvard campus at the time he attended college.

  6. Joseph Wood says:

    I expect you to also write an article about how Norah O’Donnell did the same thing on MSNBC. lol… YOu guys don’t hate bias media. You just hate it when it doesn’t go your way.

    • Daryl Lang says:

      Joseph, Norah O’Donnell is right up there in the post you failed to read.

  7. Fayzan Zahid says:

    i wish this would happen too :p.

  8. mikey says:

    All hail the Wise Old Owl LOL!

  9. John Dolan says:

    I think it’s funny how people always Foxs News sucks or they lie but never give examples. I guess since they didn’t pee all over themselve for Obama then there must be something wrong with them. Only nobody really knows what it is.

  10. sereluy says:

    nice mistake… when “b” is typed with your index finger, and the “s” is typed with the ring finger. not fooling anybody.

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