4.14.2008

but i'm sure it was just an innocent slip of the tongue

The Chairman of Associated Press referred to the world's most famous and elusive terrorist as "Obama Bin Laden".
After addressing the journalists gathered at the annual Associated Press luncheon in Washington, D.C., today, Sen. Barack Obama, standing at the podium, took a few questions. The last one from the audience, delivered via AP chairman W. Dean Singleton, was related to Afghanistan, our troops in Iraq and the threat posed by, as Singleton put it, "Obama bin Laden."

Obama quickly corrected Singleton. "That's Osama bin Laden," he said. The crowd laughed a bit. "If I did that, I am so sorry," Singleton replied.

Then Obama said, "This is part of what I have been going through for the past months, which is why it is impressive that I am still standing here."

Yes folks, that's the Chairman of AP, the organization described (by itself) as "the backbone of the world's information system, serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television and online customers. . . the largest and oldest news organization in the world. . .".

Thanks to the researcher-in-chief.

File this under humour? Election fraud? Things that leave me speechless?

12 comments:

Nancy said...

It gets better. A Republican just called Barack Obama "Boy". Once again it was a 'misspeak'. Suuuure it was.
http://www.newser.com/story/24481.html

redsock said...

I wish I had been keeping a list when this started, because this has happened well over two dozen times. Probably much more.

Cable news anchors have said it, pundits have said it, it has been put into graphics that are shown behind talking cable news heads (which means it was not a slip of the tongue, but something that took awhile to create) ... it is truly amazing.

If I recall, Fox went the other way one time and broadcast a picture of bin Laden with "Obama" underneath it.

Amy said...

I actually think this is really a slip of the tongue, mostly because I used to do the same thing early on in the campaign (which feels like about 40 years ago). It is rooted, of course, in our cultural narrowness in that these "foreign" names are harder for us to remember. I don't recall anyone ever calling Bush Brush or Kerry Kelly. But I confess to making the same mistake, so I can't be too hard on others.

L-girl said...

You're so generous, Amy.

But would you make that same mistake now? After the man has been in the news this much for this long? And if you were the Chairman of AP, do you think you'd have a chance to pronounce the man's name a few hundred times?

Ryan said...

Doubt it's a slip of the tongue. I've even heard some guy from the National Post on Politics with Don Newman repeatedly "accidentally" call Obama Osama bin Laden flat out.

"Gosh what's wrong with me?" he kept saying.

Amy said...

No, you're right. I sure hope that I would not make that mistake today, especially if it was part of my job to get names and other facts correctly. But I think it's still a slip of the tongue...one based on unconscious racism/ethnocentrism, but still a slip. On the other hand, when the minister campaigning for Huckabee (I think---maybe it was McCain?) kept referring to Barack Hussein Obama, emphasizing the Hussein over and over, THAT was intentional.

Scott M. said...

Wow. I'm not nearly as cynical as you folks. I make that type of mistake *all the time*, where I replace the word I want to say with the word of the thing I'm looking at/name of the person I'm speaking to when those two words are similar.

Really, I would make this mistake.

Joe Grav said...

I just wrote a long rant about the constant accusations of Obama's so-called "anti-Americanism" after having a 40 minute debate on the phone with someone on that topic. Needless to say, I'm getting really fed up.

http://joegrav.livejournal.com/119385.html

L-girl said...

Scott, the mistake has to be seen in the context of the US election climate, xenophobia, racism, fear of terrorism, etc. etc. It's not you or I talking to a friend. It happens *a lot*.

I don't want to repeat what Nancy, Allan, Amy (in her second comment) and Ryan have already written, but the only way this can be seen as an innocent mistake is if it's viewed in a contextless vacuum. In real life... no.

impudent strumpet said...

They aren't even close phonetically. Like if you say "obama" or "barack obama", you're moving forward in your mouth. Your lips round to make the O and then continue that momentum and press together to make the B. You'd have to physically switch directions to hit the S, then switch back to make your way through the A to the M.

I have no idea whether or to what extent a brainfart can outweight muscular momentum when misspeaking. I'd google it if I could think of a technical term for brainfart.

L-girl said...

ImpStrump, thanks for the linguistic insight!

I bet lots of poeple assume that if two words look alike in writing, they might be easily confused. But does the mind work that way when forming words?

I can think of lots of slang synonyms for brainfarts, but nothing serious. A health care provider in geriatrics might call them "episodes of confusion". That's not going to get very far either.

Wrye said...

Ah, yes, Scott, but as a friend of mine said when Bryan Adams forgot the words to "O Canada" while singing for a Playoff Game at GM Place for the second time, tough. If it is your job to know names then it does not matter how hard it is, you learn how to do it. The President of Iran has a tough name. Many countries in Africa have unusual names and are hard to keep straight and pronounce. But if you are a journalist, it is your job to know the difference, and practice it. Every journalist had to learn this at some point in their career -people will flay you alive if you get names wrong on the local city council, let along presidential candidates. So serious journalists don't get the same pass you or I might.

Incompetence or malice, either way, it's unprofessional in a Journalism 101 sort of way.