Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Technical glitch on CNN web site revealed obituaries for several famous but not-yet-dead people.
Origins: It should come as no surprise to those who follow the media that most news outlets prepare obituaries for many prominent political and entertainment figures (especially those advanced in years or in poor health) well before their deaths. The passing of a famous personage is always big news, and nobody wants to get scooped by losing time
Of course, given our squeamishness about confronting the subject of death, no news outlet likes to advertise the fact that they prepare death notices in advance. This isn't usually an issue, save for the rare occasions when a newspaper or
Unfortunately, CNN was caught a bit red-faced on
CNN blamed human error Thursday for exposing obituary mock-ups that its Web site's designers had prepared for Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope and other prominent figures.Last updated: 29 June 2007
The templates, which were to be used when the person died, had been on a development site meant for internal review. But the public briefly had access to them after the password protection was disabled.
CNN was investigating the cause of the error, which was discovered and fixed Wednesday. CNN spokeswoman Edna Johnson said technicians were trying to determine how long the mock-ups had been exposed through the development site, which was not directly accessible from the main CNN.com news site.
Although the templates were no longer accessible to the public, the search engine Google still had a reference Thursday to Reagan's, titled "Ronald Reagan Remembered."
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.