Did Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson know of Osama bin Laden’s death before the press?


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Did Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson know about the death of Osama bin Laden before the press?

One thing that is for sure is that the news broke on Twitter before it did through the traditional media sources of TV networks or newspapers or either of the two’s respective Web operations.


According to multiple reports, the first tweet to specifically mention Bin Laden’s death was sent out by Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff at Donald Rumsfeld’s office. Rumsfeld is the former U.S. Defense secretary.

Urbahn sent out on Twitter, Sunday night at 7:24 p.m. PDT (10:24 p.m. EDT), a message that read:

So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.

The message was followed up two minutes later by a tweet that read:

Don’t know if its true, but let’s pray it is.

Urbahn’s tweets came minutes ahead of anonymous sources at the Pentagon and the White House telling news outlets that the U.S. had indeed killed Bin Laden.


President Obama went on air at about 8:35 PDT and formally announced that a raid on a mansion-like compound in the city of Abbottabad, Pakistan, had resulted in the death of the Al Qaeda leader.

But, also at 7:24 p.m. PDT, about the same time that Urbahn sent his message mentioning that the U.S. had killed Bin Laden, Johnson, a wrestler turned actor, sent out a tweet saying:

Just got word that will shock the world - Land of the free...home of the brave DAMN PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!

At 7:32 p.m. PDT, still ahead of the president’s announcement, he wrote:


And at 7:36 p.m. PDT, he tweeted:

..couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present..

Johnson was unavailable for comment on Tuesday about whether his tweets referred to the death of Bin Laden and hasn’t commented on that topic on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe he was just happy with the success of his new movie, ‘Fast Five’? A $140-million weekend is nothing to sneeze at.


Urbahn, however, has been speaking with reporters about being the first to officially tweet about Bin Laden’s demise. On Monday, he issued a bit of a caution as to how much his tweets validated Twitter as a news source that could beat the mainstream media or MSM.

Urbahn tweeted:

My source was a connected network TV news producer. Stories about ‘the death of MSM’ because of my ‘first’ tweet are greatly exaggerated.

And a few minutes later, from Urbahn:

As much as I believe in rise of ‘citizen journalism,’ blogs, twitter etc supplanting traditional media, my tweet isn’t great evidence of it.



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— Nathan Olivarez-Giles