Last night, America got the news that U.S. forces raided a compound in Pakistan, took fire, and punched Osama bin Laden's ticket on the downtown train to the Nethers. But before we got that news, America got about a solid hour of ramping and vamping, as newspeople took to the teevee to make wild speculation about what it was that they were all summoned back to work to report.
It made for an interesting night, to say the least. What was the big story? Was it the debt ceiling, or about tornadoes? No, it was about a "national security matter." Or maybe "war" or "death" or "terror." Was it maybe something in Syria? We're going to war with Syria! Or is it Muammar Gaddafi? Is he dead? Was he killed? OH CRAP, THIS IS THE WHOLE 2012 PROPHECY, RIGHT? (What do you wear on a "survival ark?" Surely not culottes.)
Credit Geraldo Rivera, briefly, for being the first one on teevee to at least say the words "We got him," though it was pretty clear that the "him" he thought was "got" was Gaddafi. Over at CNN, Wolf Blitzer kept saying that he totally knew that the big news had nothing to do with Libya, because he is a precious news pony and his precious news pony sources told him it wasn't about Libya, so those other networks should be quiet.
Over at MSNBC -- who escape being in our Mediagasm mashup only because their entire evening of coverage never made it into the TVEyes database -- things were much the same. Because this was the weekend, and MSNBC takes the weekend off from "news coverage" to instead broadcast "Sex Slaves: UK," the B team struggled to improv the news. "You have to think that this is something," said Mike Viqueira. Yes, Mike! I do have to think that, because otherwise we'd be learning about sex slaves from the United Kingdom.
And there was some note from Pete Mitchell that MSNBC came tantalizingly close to reading on the air, but then didn't. (I speculated that the note probably read: "I have always loved you, Andrea Mitchell. Run away with me.")
Eventually, Geraldo demonstrated that he really was feeling the vibe of the evening: "Oh, ladies and gentlemen, something I just thought of ... what if it's Osama bin Laden? ... Wouldn't that make our weekend?"
Sure would! But by then, most of us on Twitter had heard the news from Donald Rumsfeld’s chief of staff, Keith Urbahn, who had already tweeted it. Good job, though, professional newsmen! Entertaining stuff.
[Video produced by Ben Craw]