Television news divisions fixed their gaze much of Thursday on airing and analyzing the Osama bin Laden videotape finally released by the government. Along with broadcast networks and cable news outlets, Court TV, AOL Time Warner's New York 1 and CNNfn also ran the tape.
The nets allowed the translation to scroll across the screen and followed up with teams of analysts. CNN and MSNBC employed their own translators to review the tape. MSNBC says one of its translators was able to decipher parts of the conversation that the Pentagon said were "inaudible."
After the late-morning airing, CNN and MSNBC execs decided to give the tape additional play: MSNBC ran it again at 5 p.m., and CNN aired it two additional times in prime. ABC says it obtained the tape before other networks and, although it showed less of it than the others, says it fast-forwarded to more dramatic parts sooner.
As a result, ABC started its report several seconds later and left its special report earlier than the others, resuming regular programming with The View.
One news director at an ABC affiliate expressed disappointment at the departure and said that, during the early moments of The View,
the station was trying to get the bin Laden feed. But, he lamented, "if you were watching us, you already went somewhere else to find it."