BREAKING: Virus Hits Media Outlets

CNN is tracking a spreading computer worm that appears to be affected computers up and down the East coast at this hour, including CNN in New York and Atlanta, ABC News, and the New York Times. The virus shuts down and reboots the infected computer. Primarily, it’s affecting Windows 2000 computers.

Wolf “The Ironman” Blitzer has been pressed into service as technical problems kept Lou Dobbs from taking over at 6 p.m. CNN International has also been affected, so Blitzer is basically carrying CNN right now.

> Is this the first breaking news coverage of a computer virus?

> MSNBC and Fox aren’t covering the story. Are they unaffected?

> Ali Velshi‘s computer is infected and he’s using it as a prop on screen.

> The virus appears to be a variation of the already-reported ZOTOB infection.

> UPDATE: Working through the problem, it appears that Dobbs will be joining the network at around 6:30 p.m.

> A reader asks, “Who is Ali Velshi and where did he come from? For someone who didn’t really exist on CNN a month ago, he suddenly has a lot of airtime.”

> Financial, military, and public safety systems appear to be fine.

> Dobbs concludes the breaking news portion shortly after 6:30 p.m. saying the good news is that “confirmed impact is relatively limited.”

> ABC News’ Charlie Gibson discussed the situation on World News Tonight just now, and showed some of CNN’s coverage. ABC reports the virus “paralyzed” work at Chrysler for a time today, and when correspondent David Muir reported Microsoft is urging people affected to contact the FBI, Gibson joked, “Should I contact the FBI because it certainly wiped out my computer?”

> An anonymous tip: “Continuing FishbowlDC’s all-day Post coverage, I’m happy to report that the Windows 2000 computers at the website remain unaffected by ZOTOB so far.”