Broadcast newsies went into hyperdrive late Sunday night as word spread that the President Obama was about to announce the death of Osama bin Laden in a live address to the nation.
The White House pool report issued a bulletin about a possible presidential statement as early as 10:30 p.m. ET. The Big Three networks broke into primetime programming between 10:45 p.m.-10:50 p.m. with the stunning news, albeit attributed to sources.
While waiting for Obama’s address, the major news outlets scrambled to get top anchors to the studio and experts on camera or at least on the phone. CNN contributor Gloria Borger offered her thoughts on the historic news of Bin Laden’s death while periodically checking her Blackberry for more details from sources.
The jubilant crowd that gathered outside the White House gates offered dramatic visuals as people chanted ”USA,” waved American flags and sang ”The Star Spangled Banner.”
Update: MSNBC reports that security patrols were increased at LAX.
Thousands gathered at Ground Zero in New York, where some in the crowd climbed lampposts to attach and wave flags.
Brian Stelter of the New York Times reports that the chief of staff to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld may have provided the first confirmation via Twitter that Bin Laden was dead.
Rachel Maddow, who just last night was bartending at MSNBC’s WHCA party, reported from the demonstrations in Lafayette Park, and shot the picture at left, along with others here. What was striking was the collection not just of old Obama campaign signs, but Bush-Cheney ones as well, a rare recent non-sports celebratory demonstration bringing together divergent political stripes.