Updated October 19 at 8:29 am
Take a look at this brief report that aired on Fox News Thursday. As you can see from the video title, there’s a little problem with it.
Yes, the problem with this reporting is that Congressman Young IS ALIVE.*
He lives still! Now, there are reports that suggest he’s barely alive. But like they say, you can’t be half-pregnant. And despite what you may have heard about zombies roaming the earth, you are either dead or alive, but not both.
But Fox’s Gretchen Carlson is not the only one who mistakenly thought Mr. Young had expired. Luke Russert of NBC News casually tweeted Thursday, Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) has died, he was 82.
No attribution. As if Luke had himself had just gotten off the phone with the morgue.
Well, oops. Russert then tweeted, UPDATE: Young family stmt: Young’s condition turned for the worse over night & he is gravely ill. His doctors say his prognosis is guarded”. I think that should be labeled “CORRECTION,” not ‘UPDATE,” but no matter.
Now I admit a tweet is not exactly a news report. But when a top journalist tweets major news, I think one should expect that it’s true. An NBC News producer also tweeted Young’s death, adding to the sense this bad news must be happening.
Journalism has indeed become a sloppy, careless thing. The need to get stuff on the web ASAP and the grinding 24-hour competition has seen to that. Adding fuel to the flames is that nobody has any money anymore, making news outfits even more desperate to get there first.
Adding a proper grace note to this sad little dirge – the dirge being for journalism, not Rep. Young – Politico ended its piece on Fox’s mistake with the following note:
Correction: An original version of this report stated that Fox News had not corrected the error on air. Carlson issued a correction at 2:23 p.m, approximately 12 minutes after the initial report.
Get well soon, Congressman. You too, journalism.
*UPDATE: Okay, now he really is dead. RIP Mr. Young.