Fisk drove home the main theme in Al Jazeera’s reporting: The Arab awakening of the last few months had already politically defeated Bin Laden. It showed that Arabs rejected the Islamic Caliphate that Bin Laden had advocated, preferring instead transparent, democratic governments.

Not to say that Al Jazeera did not recognize that Bin Laden’s death was a momentous event with potentially brutal consequences. As reporter Tarek Bazley said at the conclusion of an Al Jazeera profile of Bin Laden, “Al Qaeda has now lost its figurehead, but many will argue that this will have little effect on the group whose followers have sworn to see his vision through to the end.” That vision remains clear. What seems to be getting blurrier is the global media landscape.

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Linette Lopez is a M.S. candidate at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.