Neil Armstrong Dies as Networks Differ in Breaking Coverage

Neil Armstrong 1969 - H 2012
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Neil Armstrong 1969 - H 2012

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died on Saturday at the age of 82.

A shy hero who made history in 1969 and avoided the spotlight afterward, the news of Armstrong's death was broken by NBC News; reporter Jay Barbree was alerted by former astronaut Tom Stafford, who was called by Armstrong's wife. Armstrong is said to have died of complications from heart surgery that took place three weeks ago.

The network first identified the late pioneer as Neil Young.

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MSNBC broke into documentary programming about the 1992 Los Angeles riots; Brian Williams and Lester Holt discussed the death, before Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, called into the special report.

Fox News was next to break into programming, interrupting Stossel and speaking with former astronaut Tom Jones.

CNN took 40 minutes to break into coverage of the death; they stayed with personal finance coverage, and then segments on Hurricane Isaac and Mitt Romney's speech in Michigan earlier this week. They had PBS News Hour Science Correspondent Miles O'Brien on the air to discuss Armstrong's legacy.

ABC News ran a special report at about 3:30 EST, anchored by David Muir.