OSAMA Bin Laden’s body was barely cold before his assassination was being used by some to claim that it signalled the death of one of the other most maligned forces in the modern world, the “main stream media”.
Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, so the narrative goes, has supplanted the so called main stream media as people’s main source of information.
News of Osama’s death was first broadcast to the world in a tweet from Keith Urbahn, chief of staff to former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
“So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn,” he tweeted.
This, according to some, was evidence that traditional media was past its used by date and soon everyone would get their news from Facebook and the like.
There was even a poll conducted that showed far more people learnt about Osama’s demise from Facebook or Twitter than from TV or radio.
Despite this, the hypothesis that traditional media is obsolete does not stand up to scrutiny.
Firstly, the poll was conducted by Mashable.com, a website devoted to reporting on social media, thus unlikely to represent an accurate cross section of society.
Secondly, Mr Urbhan, in a later tweet, revealed the source of his “scoop”.
“My source was a connected network TV news producer,” he said.
So there we have it, as usual, citizen journalism, rather than supplanting traditional journalism, is simply feeding off it.
I’m not saying sites like Twitter and Facebook have no place in the media landscape, obviously they do.
But to paraphrase the great Mark Twain “reports of the mainstream media’s death have been greatly exaggerated”.