USA Today Falls for Author Cormac McCarthy Death Hoax
The Gannett newspaper ran a breaking news banner on its site and tweeted a false death report about the author.
Pulitzer-winning author Cormac McCarthy is alive and well, and USA Today has some egg on its face.
The newspaper on Tuesday fell for a hoax, seemingly started by a tweet from an unverified account, which claimed that the 82-year-old author of The Road had died of a stroke.
In a since deleted tweet and breaking banner on its website, USA Today stated the death as fact without any attribution. Not long after, the tweet was deleted and followed up by other tweets saying the newspaper was looking into the death and finally that McCarthy was alive and well.
The author's publisher, Penguin Random House, said on its official Twitter account that a fake publishing account had spread the false news.
Shortly after the hoax surfaced, Cormac McCarthy's name began trending in the United States on Twitter.
A Gannett rep didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
BREAKING: We were totes first to report news based on a fake Twitter account.— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) June 28, 2016
UPDATE: We might've gotten that wrong. pic.twitter.com/0TLtVpe9fO
UPDATE: Author Cormac McCarthy is not dead, his publicist says. A "rogue" Twitter account posted that information.— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 28, 2016
"Cormac McCarthy is alive and well. We have notified Twitter and we have notified our attorneys,” publicist tells @usatodaylife— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 28, 2016
Yup. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. That account doesn't represent Knopf. https://t.co/9OZBBvbqML— Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom) June 28, 2016
Cormac McCarthy is alive and well and still doesn't care about Twitter.— Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom) June 28, 2016