sowny.net | The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

January 4, 2021 8:34 pm  #1


When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

You may have heard on the weekend about the death of actress Tanya Roberts, formerly of Charlie's Angels and That 70s Show, as well as a one time James Bond actress. Reports published all over the world indicated that the 65-year-old passed away after collapsing while out walking her dogs. Those stories were reported online, in newspapers, on TV and on radio all day.  

But reports of her death, as Mark Twain might have noted, have been greatly exaggerated. At least for the moment. Now her publicist, in what is certainly more than a reversal of fortune, says she's still alive, although in grave condition.

How does that kind of mistake happen? I remember many years ago when news of Bob Hope's death washed over the media. Among those listening to the announcement was Hope himself, who was in the middle of breakfast when he was declared dead by, if memory serves, a Washington politician.  

A few years ago, the media also pronounced Gordon Lightfoot's passing. As we all know, he's still very much with us. 

What an embarrassing mess, as websites are forced to retract their original stories and pages on their sites have mysteriously disappeared. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, these mistakes get picked up everywhere. And even though it's not their fault (her death was announced by her boyfriend, certainly a good source), they don't help an already wounded media's credibility. 

Which leads me to what has to be my favourite headline of 2021 so far:

Tanya Roberts Is Reportedly Not Dead

 

January 4, 2021 8:47 pm  #2


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

Burns was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was then transferred to a better hospital where doctors upgraded his condition to "Alive."


https://i.redd.it/jhyky2z11iz11.jpg

 

January 4, 2021 8:53 pm  #3


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

With apologies to Ms. Roberts, who I hope makes a full recovery. This is honestly the first thing I thought of when I read the corrected story. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 4, 2021 10:28 pm  #4


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

=12pxShort of Sanjay Gupta going to the hospital and checking her pulse what is the media supposed to do?

 

January 4, 2021 11:35 pm  #5


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

I don't blame them for going with the story. There were two sources, both of them extremely credible at the time. Still, there's nothing worse than having to reverse or retract a death pronouncement if it isn't true. I note it only because what happened was extremely unusual.

     Thread Starter
 

January 5, 2021 2:57 am  #6


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

This happened with Tom Petty as well, his death was reported prematurely by CBS News. Petty did in fact die later the same day though.

 

January 5, 2021 11:30 am  #7


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

MJ Vancouver wrote:

This happened with Tom Petty as well, his death was reported prematurely by CBS News. Petty did in fact die later the same day though.

Sounds like history has sadly repeated itself.

Tanya Roberts Dies After Premature Death Announcement 

     Thread Starter
 

January 5, 2021 3:59 pm  #8


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

Surprised nobody mentioned that Gordon Lightfoot "died" back in 2010.  
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/feb/19/gordon-lightfoot-still-alive

 

January 5, 2021 8:15 pm  #9


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

I think it was 1999 when someone released a report that Bob Hope had died. He let it be known that he was still very much alive.

 

January 6, 2021 10:26 am  #10


Re: When News Gets It Wrong: Dead Actress Still Alive

I thought it was ineptitude by the publicist but it's actually quite a sad story. Apparently he went to the hospital to see her, saw her condition and (was probably told) that death was imminent. "In a phone call Monday evening, O'Brien told CNN he was distraught after saying goodbye to Roberts at her bedside and left Cedars-Sinai Medical Center believing it would be the last time he saw her." If he had his wits about him he probably would have waited until there was official confirmation by the hospital but considering the situation and the fact that he was distraught and assumed the worst (with cause, if premature), I think his actions are understandable.