Premature CBS Report of Tom Petty’s Death Causes Huge Confusion

October 03, 2017Oct 03, 2017

The news swirled around the web immediately early Monday afternoon: CBS News was reporting that Tom Petty was dead.

Courtney Love, John Mayer, Shania Twain, Cyndi Lauper, were among a few stars posting remembrances on Twitter, where Petty was the top worldwide trending topic Monday afternoon.

A memorial was scheduled for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But the 66-year-old entertainer was still alive at the time, according to this Mr. Petty’s manager.
The news outlets that announced his death Monday were forced to retract their stories. The Walk of Fame tribute was also canceled.

The reports, as it turned out, were merely premature. Petty's publicist confirmed late Monday that the rocker died at 8:40 p.m. after having suffered cardiac arrest.

When CBS reported Mr. Petty’s death on Twitter, “JUST IN,” the network attributed the news to the Los Angeles Police Department. In an article published online, there was no mention of the L.A.P.D., just the phrase “CBS News has confirmed.” (CBS later deleted the tweet.)

Numerous other news outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, Slate, and HuffPost, soon posted articles about Mr. Petty’s death, all pointing back to the story by CBS.

LAPD issued a statement saying it has no information on Petty's condition and that "initial information was inadvertently provided by some media sources."

"We apologize for any inconvenience in this reporting," the department said.

CBS News amended their story and also released a statement maintaining that it "reported information obtained officially from the LAPD about Tom Petty."

"The LAPD later said it was not in a position to confirm information about the singer," the statement said.

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