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The Osama bin Laden 'deathers'

May 4, 2011 | 10:16 am

Osama Bin Laden Photos Hey, remember that whole royal wedding thing?

And how about President Obama's birth certificate?

Or even Major League Baseball's takeover of the Dodgers?

Oh yeah, those.

Google the topics last week and there were stories as far as the eye could see.

Google them now and all you'll get is the wind whistling through the deserted streets of the Internet.

For example, I tried "William and Kate honeymoon" and the top result was from a site called SheKnows.com.

Similary, "Obama birther" yielded a fairly old story from Patch.com.

Nothing like the killing of the world's most-wanted terrorist to take care of the news' silly season.

Or did it?

No sooner were the birthers dismissed than they found a new cause:  Osama bin Laden isn't dead; it's all a government hoax.  Just check out my colleague Paul Thornton's blog post, "Mailbag: Goodbye 'birthers,' hello 'deathers.'

Plus there's the "clamor" for the White House to release gruesome photos of a dead Bin Laden.   

Among those "clamoring" is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who -- in an echo of House Speaker John Boehner's  "I'll take him at his word" comment that Obama is a U.S. citizen and a Christian --  said that he himself was not among those who doubt that Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan but that the proof would quiet those who do doubt it.

And then there are those who would try to profit from the public's insatiable appetite for Bin Laden news.  In "Bin Laden death is magnet for scammers on Facebook, Google" on The Times' Technology blog, David Sarno and W.J. Hennigan wrote:   

One Facebook posting appearing to be from the BBC trumpeted a link titled "Osama bin Laden Killed (LIVE VIDEO)." When clicked, the link takes the user to an outside page modeled to look like Facebook, where it asks the user to enter a verification code. When the user submits the code, the link is then posted to the user's Facebook account.

Actually, to those of us uncomfortable with social networking, it's somehow reassuring to find that even among the Facebook generation, there's still one born every minute.

But as for the deathers and their ilk, I find myself longing for the days when Walter Cronkite signed off his newscast each night intoning "And that's the way it is" -- and Americans actually believed him.


Al Qaeda without its leader

Regretting Bin Laden's death

Global terrorism: The battle isn't over yet

Gregory Rodriguez from ground zero: America reboots

Debate: Is it appropriate to rejoice at bin Laden's death?

--Paul Whitefield

Photo: Pakistani photographer Mazhar Ali Khan, right, shows his photographs of Osama bin Laden displayed at the National Press Club in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Wednesday. People are still confused and suspicious about the killing of Bin Laden, which took place in their midst before dawn on Monday. Credit: B.K.Bangash / Associated Press

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