Watching TV's most electrifying moment in years last night, you too might have been struck by the fact that so many of the reporters on the air - from Lara Logan to Brian Ross - had their entire careers built around Osama Bin Laden or the War on Terror...
Here's the TV wrap in today's Newsday:
Viewers got a sense that major news was forthcoming around 10:30 p.m. last night when President Obama was expected to break into regularly scheduled shows like "CSI:Miami."
As it turned out, the president wouldn't speak for an hour, but the network knew long before he did actually speak at 11:30 that this news would in fact be historic - Osama Bin Laden had been killed.
Special reports began mushrooming across the entire TV landscape just before eleven, when anchors and reporters from CBS to Headline News breathlessly reported the news millions of New Yorkers have awaited for a decade.
"The term historical is often overused but tonight let's use the term historical with a capital H," said CNN's John King, without a hint of hyperbole.
Initial reports were firm and declarative - Bin Laden was dead - but at first, the devil was in the details. Some reports said he had been killed in an airstrike, others said he was in Pakistan, while the body was possibly in Afghanistan. CBS News Pentagon corespondent David Martin - widely considered one of the most reliable military affairs reporter - said that Bin Laden had been "shot in the head," and that the body was in U.S. custody.
ABC News' Jake Tapper later reported on a firefight at a mansion - the image alone conjuring some sort of James Bond-style operation on a fortified wolf’s lair in some remote land.
All of the reporters, or most of them last night, had their lives and careers affected by the war on terror. On CBS's air was Lara Logan, the network's chief foreign correspondent who just hours earlier on "60 Minutes" had given details of the brutal sexual assault she sustained in Cairo's Tahrir Square. After her own, the killing of Bin Laden was to become her first story since returning to work after convalescing since the attack. "So it is not the end of the war on terror, by now means," she said. "There is no one w ho is going to come out and suggest that."
Among the three anchors of the evening news programs, only Brian Williams was able to get on the air before the president spoke. Williams - who had had been a reporter for WCBS during the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing - spoke with NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, who had been a translator for ABC News when the first bombs dropped on Baghdad back on March 19, 2003.
At ABC, George Stephanopoulos spoke with Brian Ross, ABC's chief investigative correspondent who has reported on terrorism for over thirty years, dating back to his years with NBC. They spoke with Mike Boettcher, the network's reporter embedded with the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan.
Boettcher - who had been one of CNN's most visible reporters during the first Gulf War - said last night that he had just returned from an operation where a number of U.S. forces had been killed. "A lot of times you are out in the field, and they ask questions [like] what are we doing here?...They have made so many sacrifices, and this news will just be electrifying. "I can tell you, this will have a great impact on them as t hey reflect on that sacrifice."