How CNN Lost The Bin Laden Exclusive

0918binladen.jpgInteresting. It turns out that when Reuters scored an exclusive deal for Osama Bin Laden‘s latest video just a week after CNN severed ties with them… Well, it turns out that CNN was the first network contacted by the person selling the video. Except CNN had no contact information on their website save web e-mail forms… and those, apparently, are not checked very frequently.

The full story is over at Inside Cable News. The Bin Laden video was discovered by a guy named Michael who frequently posts to Twitter’s BreakingNewsOn. He discovered the new Bin Laden video, which he posted to Twitter. He then tried to contact CNN, Reuters and several others to sell the video, but CNN *never responded back*. Damn.

The story in Michael’s own words after the jump.

At around 4.45 pm GMT I obtained the full tape, which was just shortly after the breaking news that US government officials had received the video as well. In the first 15 minutes, I had watched parts of the video and was checking media sources like CNN, Sky News, Al-Jazeera and others to see if anyone else had already released this tape. Following this I started contacting news outlets. The first reply I recieved was from Novum News at 5.29 GMT, which is a pretty large media outlet in the Netherlands. They were asking how I obtained the tape and if I was able to show a piece of it. It took them about 15 minutes to reply to my initial mail.

At around 5.30 GMT I first called Alertnet in London, this is the Reuters newswire. I told them I had just obtained bin Laden’s latest video message, the full unedited version. The woman on the other end replied that she hadn’t heard anything of the new tape since she “hadn’t followed the news” lately. Strange, she works at Alertnet, right? Anyway, she said she would forward the information, and my phone number, to the Reuters newsdesk in Amsterdam. She also heard a piece of my tape on the phone and a few minutes later I was called by someone else from Reuters in London. She asked me about the source and wanted more details of the tape. She said she was going to discuss it with her boss and call me back. Later, Reuters in Amsterdam called me.. we’ve spoken several times on the phone and exchanged emails. and I mailed him a part of the video. Note that this is the 71-second clip which was aired on TV-stations across the world. After people from Reuters looked at it, in Amsterdam, London and the Middle-East, they concluded that they thought this was the real thing. Finally, around 6.55 GMT, we reached a deal. And only minutes later at 7.02 GMT, Reuters broke over my videotape: “BIN LADEN SAYS U.S. VULNERABLE DESPITE POWER – VIDEO SEEN BY REUTERS”, the headline on their newswire.