Gaddafi Rumors and the New Media Age

If you have any doubt that we are living in a new age of communication, consider what has happened this afternoon:

1) stocks moved to their lows for the day in the one o'clock hour; traders were passing around a report from Al-Jazeera quoting the former Libyan Justice Minister who says that Gaddafi has chemical weapons and may use them.

2) a half hour later, stocks rally and oil tanks as reports surface on Twitter than Gaddafi has been shot. Reuters has cited a U.S. official as saying the U.S. government has no reason to believe Gaddafi is dead.

Meantime White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. had the capacity to act in the event of a major disruption to oil supplies (he is presumably referring to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve). Treasury Secretary Geithner said there was substantial capacity in strategic oil reserves.

All of these "official" statements, however are taking a back seat to Twitter and Al-Jazeera. Welcome to the new world.

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