President Obama's State of the Union address competed with the reported death of alleged killer Christopher Dorner on Tuesday night.
In the runup to the speech, cable news networks either showed a split-screen between the Capitol Building and the hills of California, or focused entirely on the Dorner story. At 9 PM, they all switched to the State of the Union, while acknowledging that Dorner would probably be on just as many people's minds as Obama.
"I think the papers tomorrow will balance the two stories no matter what the president says tonight," Chris Matthews said on MSNBC. Earlier, he said the State of the Union was "probably the biggest story of the night — certainly the story we thought we'd be covering."
During the speech, multiple outlets reported that Dorner had died, and that his body had been removed from the cabin where he was holed up. When Obama's address was over, CNN, which said it had confirmed Dorner's death, cut immediately to coverage of the fallout.
All of that reporting — along with that of the AP, NBC and ABC, among others — was thrown into turmoil when a Los Angeles Police Department commander said that no body had been found.