*BREAKING* Drudge Tried To Kill The President
In among the various fusses yesterday, you may have noticed a visit by POTUS to Afghanistan. BuzzFeed catalogues the behind-the-scenes moves by National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor to maintain secrecy over the whereabouts of President Obama and his retinue after Afghanistan-based TOLONews prematurely tweeted that his plane had landed prior to 9.19 a.m.:
The TOLONews tweet was spotted by Huffington Post reporter Joshua Hersh, who wondered “Is this right?” setting in motion a frantic effort by the White House to keep word of Obama’s trip out of the press until he was out of harm’s way.
The story spread to the New York Post:
By 9:37, the New York Post had published an item on the trip based off the TOLONews tweet, and by 9:53 it was running in the ticker “Breaking News” at the top of its home page. By 10:06 the story was updated to add the “strong” White House denial and minutes later the breaking news alert was removed from the homepage. Sometime in the interim, the initial tweet from TOLONews was removed as well.
The efforts to spike the story until the president’s plane had indeed touched down at 2 p.m. were only partially successful, though most of the media cooperated, as they customarily do when presidential security is at stake. The New York Post couldn’t restrain itself from sniping after the event, though:
The White House informed the Post today the report on its website that President Obama was in Kabul was not accurate and that, in publishing it, the paper was endangering the President’s life. With due respect to the White House and out of an abundance of caution, the Post removed the story from its website. We are impressed the White House believes the Taliban, while hiding in caves and dodging American drones, are, like millions of others, avid readers of nypost.com.
Fate thus having been tempted, you can probably guess what comes next:
Kabul suicide attack coincides with Barack Obama visit
Car bomb kills seven just hours after US president Barack Obama visited Afghan capital
Meanwhile, there was one organ that didn’t play ball.
No klaxons and flashing lights, but throughout the day Drudge carried this headline, first linking to the changing Post story, then a similar story from a Chinese news agency:
“The TOLONews report was inaccurate,” Vietor said, “so it was 100 percent true and easy to tell people that. When people say ‘is he in transit’ that’s a different story.”
“The way this works is a small group of press are read into the fact of this trip ahead of time,” Vietor said.” “For operational security reasons it can’t be public until they land. There is a firm agreement between news agencies and the White House not to report until the plane is on the ground.”
Vietor said the arrangement with reporters is standard operation procedure, though news of the trip leaking four hours early is anything but.
Asked about The Drudge Report’s decision to keep swapping links, Vietor replied, “There is nothing you can do about Drudge.”
So there ya go: Drudge tried to kill the president.
What’s outraging you this morning?