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Joe Paterno False Death Rumor on Huffington Post and Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary


The Omelette Sunday January 22, 2012

(Editor's note- Before you, the reader, go slamming us, keep in mind this was obviously published prior to the death of Joe Paterno. Thanks!)

Joe Paterno False Death Rumors Circulate the Web Saturday Night

Early Saturday evening, news broke that former Penn State coach Joe Paterno was back in the hospital due to complications from lung cancer. A few hours later, CBS Sports posted a story about Joe Paterno's family contemplating whether or not to turn his ventilator off. Then, news started to circulate that the legendary PSU coach had died.

Then at around 9:00 P.M. - Huffington Post put out a story on their homepage that Paterno had passed away. Many websites starting running with rumors that Paterno had died. Much of it was based on some rumors being floated out there by a PSU student run news website. There were also rumors Twitter stating that "doctors from the hospital" heard that he died.

Of course none of these rumors had any validity of truth, while these websites were trying to be the "first" to break a story, rather than telling the truth. It's just another case of blogs and websites looking to exploit a situation (in this case a very sad one) in order to boost their website traffic.

Paterno's family came out and vehemently denied the rumors and stated that while Joe Paterno is in serious condition, he is very much alive. Apparently, the coach was stricken with pneumonia and is being treated for that.

Going back to Huffington Post. When I saw this story posted on their website I had my doubts when I didn't see any confirmation on CNN or ESPN.  Remember in the highly competitive world of internet news, some sites will stoop to the low road in order to get traffic and Huffington Post certainly went there. Huffington Post has since retracted the story, but they should come out an apologize for posting the story to begin with, especially when it's obvious the person who posted the story didn't do one ounce of fact checking.

CBS also succumbed to the lowrent standards of bloggers by putting out a Joe Paterno death story. They have since apologized for the bogus report. Managing editor Mark Swanson said CBS Sports had relied on "an unsubstantiated report" and failed to verify it. He wrote Saturday night "CBSSports.com holds itself to high journalistic standards, and in this circumstance tonight, we fell well short of those expectations."

Joe Paterno has been hospitalized since January 13 for minor complications from lung cancer treatments. Over the past few days, further complications have developed, which make his condition serious - according to doctors.

Paterno orginally learned he had lung cancer just days after being fired from Penn State, following the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal.

Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary

Newt Gingrich is beating his chest after finally winning a primary over Mitt Romney. Gingrich took the "prize" by winning South Carolina's primary yesterday, while Romney finished second. Gingrich won by taking 40.4% of the votes, while Romney finished second with 27.8%.

This comes on the heels of a story put out there by Gingrich's ex-wife in which she alleges he wanted to have an open marriage.

Now that Gingrich has ended Mitt Romney's winning streak, it makes the road to the Republican nomination a little more interesting. The race is far from over.

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com

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