In response to a previous article, I think we can answer that yes, spelling does matter! A vast number of news sources have proclaimed the recent news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed, some with more success than others…
A headline on Fox News on May 1st read “Obama Bin Laden dead”. Whilst this may have been an honest typing mistake (despite the letters “s” and “b” appearing quite a distance from each other on a standard keyboard…), it has certainly raised questions among journalists, bloggers, tweeters, and the public throughout the world. As Shea Bennett commented on mediabistro.com, “it’s not as if they haven’t played around with the similarity (absurd as that connection is) between Osama Bin Laden and President Obama’s names before.”
Fox News were not alone in this error. Spanish newspaper El País claimed that “Obama Bin Laden ha muerto” and even the BBC stated “Obama dead” – an even more catastrophic error given that the rest of the name was not included in this headline!
So I think we can safely conclude that attention to detail, particularly in terms of spelling, is important. Whilst in some cases the context, image or rest of the sentence can reassure the reader that a mistake is a mistake, in other cases there are no such clues, and as a result, incorrect information is given. So take heed, and proofread!