The Rocky Mountain News
erroneously reported this morning that Pope John Paul II had died. In an email bulletin sent at 11:30 a.m., the News
BREAKING NEWS: Pope John Paul II dies at 84
At about the same time, the News
posted a large headline in its website:
John Paul II Dies
The problem, of course, was that the Pope was still alive, though grievously ill.
' gaffes were based on "Italian news media" reports despite the fact that those same Italian news media had earlier mistakenly said that the Pope was in a coma. Other American media outlets covered those same Italian reports, but most, including CNN, were careful to note that the reports were unconfirmed. CNN quickly pulled the bulletin on the Pope's reported death from its site.
site continued to report that the Pope had died until approximately 11:53 a.m. Denver time, when it changed its headline to a much smaller "Conflicting reports on pope's condition."
Finally, at 1:02 p.m., another update declared "Pope clings to life."
A few minutes later, it broadcast an email bulletin noting that "The Vatican has denied reports that Pope John Paul II has died."