CNN typo mixes up prospective U.S. presidential candidate with Osama bin Laden

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Instead of the "s" in Osama, CNN put a "b" making it Obama.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama

U.S. Senator Barack Obama's family name may sound similar to that of the given name of Osama bin Laden.

According to prominent American left-wing online blog Daily Kos, which was the first to report it, CNN mixed the two up on Monday, leading into a segment on bin Laden with the title, "Where's Obama?" on The Situation Room, a show hosted by pundit Wolf Blitzer. The blog posted a photo of the mistake. The author of the blog called it "character defamation."

CNN has called the mistake "a bad typographical error". Soledad O'Brien and Blitzer apologised separately during CNN's American Morning on Tuesday.

"We want to apologize for that bad typo," Mr Blitzer said. "We also want to apologize personally to Senator Barack Obama. I'm going to be making a call to him later this morning to offer my personal apology."

Mr Obama's press secretary said the apology was accepted. He also added that he appreciated the online blogs who brought the error to light.

"Though I'd note that the 's' and '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," said Tommy Vietor, Obama's press secretary.