How the Twitterverse got it wrong about Rep. Bill Young - FOX 13 News

How the Twitterverse got it wrong about Rep. Bill Young

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It's not the first time the media has reported Congressman Bill Young's death.

Two years ago this month, a rumor made the rounds that he had passed away. According to the National Journal, Young's office began receiving phone calls from reporters asking about his death.

The Journal says that Young personally spoke to a Tampa Tribune reporter to squelch the rumor, then his office called Capitol Police to spread the word further.

"Still alive and kicking," Young said at the time.

LINK: National Journal report

So how did the rumor make the rounds this time?

Reporter/blogger Peter Schorsch wrote on St. Petersblog that he was one of the first people to tweet that Young had passed away.

"I was one of, if not the first, to say Young had died. I had it confirmed with two members, albeit distant, of the Young family who said they had been contacted with news of Young's death. When I asked why they were telling me, they said it was because of my ‘fair coverage.' "

Schorsch wasn't alone. NBC reporter Luke Russert tweeted "Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) has died, he was 82," at 1:54 p.m. Schorsch said Russert's tweet supported his information.

FOX News Radio also tweeted Young's death at 2:02 p.m...

JUST IN: Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) has died at 82. He had recently announced his retirement at the end of this term.

...then issued a correction at 2:19 p.m.

CORRECTION: Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) took a turn for the worse and is "gravely ill," but is not dead.

Multiple retweets of Young's death, corrections, and apologies followed.

FOX 13, which had retweeted Schorsch's initial tweet, received this statement from Young's family at 2:28 p.m., ending speculation about his death:

U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young's condition turned for the worse over night and he is gravely ill. His doctors say his prognosis is guarded. --The Young Family

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