Obama thanks blogs for response to CNN Osama-Obama snafu;
Senator sees no malicious intent
Tuesday January 2, 2007
The office of Senator Barack Obama (D - IL) contacted RAW STORY late Monday morning to say they saw no malicious intent in a Monday night CNN graphic that confused the senator's surname with that of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
During a Jan. 1 broadcast of Wolf Blitzer's nightly news program, a pre-commercial preview of the show's next segment included a story on the hunt for Al Qaeda's leadership. Over a photo of Osama Bin Laden and his second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a graphic read "Where's Obama?" rather than "Where's Osama?"
The CNN clip was first highlighted on Daily Kos.
Bloggers and news watchers immediately cried foul, with many seeing the graphic as part of a series of efforts by pundits and news organizations to associate the popular freshman senator, who identifies as a Christian, with powerful Muslims who have been hostile to the United States, including the now-executed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Al Qaeda leader.
But during an interview with RAW STORY, Senator Obama's Press Secretary Tommy Vietor said he thought there was "no malicious intent" behind the graphic. "Wolf Blitzer is a good person and journalist. Someone made a mistake in a graphic, and that's as far as it goes," he said.
Vietor said the senator and Blitzer had not yet managed to connect on the phone, but that there was a message in his voicemail before 8 AM this morning expressing Blitzer's intent to apologize in person.
Senator Obama's Press Secretary also added "We really appreciate the people in the blogosphere who brought this to our attention, and act as our eyes and ears."
“Though I’d note that the ‘s’ and the ‘b’ keys aren’t all that close to each other, I assume it was just an unfortunate mistake, and don’t think there was any truly malicious intent," he added in a followup email in a quote copied to the Associated Press.
(Crooks and Liars has a video clip of Blitzer's apology.)
RAW STORY filed a story earlier in the day that includes CNN's on air apology to Obama, and background on the creation of a meme that links the senator with militant Islam.