Deadline apologizes after mistakenly publishing draft story claiming VP Pence has CORONAVIRUS, driving speculation
The premature story went well beyond the type of placeholder draft that news organizations often create for obituaries, featuring wild speculation from “armchair epidemiologists” who conjectured that Pence’s ‘bloody eye’ seen during Wednesday night’s VP debate indicated a coronavirus infection. An anonymous senior Trump administration official has since provided a far more mundane explanation, telling Politico the redness was caused by a burst blood vessel.
Someone at Deadline is about to either get a huge promotion or immediately fired pic.twitter.com/PfNV3ruT5x— elan gale (@theyearofelan) October 8, 2020
The story stoked confusion across the internet, adding to earlier rumors and speculation that Pence had tested positive for the illness after he canceled a trip to Indiana set for Friday, instead returning to Washington.
Does Vice President Pence have coronavirus? There are lots of rumblings. Please issue a statement to clear this up, and if so feel better and get well soon.— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) October 9, 2020
A spokesperson for Pence, Katie Miller, slammed the report as “utterly false,” calling Deadline “irresponsible” for the bizarre blunder, while Pence’s press secretary insisted“Nobody's sick. There's no positive tests,” adding “The VP is planning on traveling on Saturday and Monday. We'll have more information on the vice president's schedule next week soon.”
Earlier, Miller sought to dispel theories about Pence’s travel schedule and what it could mean for his health, saying the VP had always intended to return to DC before heading to Indiana, though did not explain the canceled trip. An adviser for Pence later clarified the decision was linked to a “scheduling issue” and was “definitely not health related.”
The official denials from Pence’s spokespeople have done little to quell the online rumor mill, however, as netizens ran with speculation about the VP’s health status, some voicing rock-solid certainty about a positive Covid diagnosis.
Deadline accidentally posted an article saying that lying bigot Mike Pence has tested positive for the Coronavirus. It may have been their mistake to post it so soon, but I’m inclined to believe he has it which is why he cancelled his planned trip to Indiana today.— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) October 9, 2020
of course he's positive, and that's why Pelosi has to convene meeting on 25th Amendment transition of powers.— Laurie LeClair (@LaurieLleclair) October 9, 2020
He had it at the debate. Did you see his red eyes, especially left one? He was swallowing hard.— Clair cognizant 🇺🇸 🆘️ 🌊 (@CarolynGarman5) October 9, 2020
Deadline acknowledged the mistake in an unsigned statement on Thursday, hours after publishing a story headlined “Vice President Mike Pence Tests Positive For Coronavirus 8 Days After Donald Trump.” Though the title included an apparent note for editors – “PREP. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES” – the all-caps disclaimer went unnoticed before the piece went live and the damage was done.
“A draft post of a story about Vice President Mike Pence testing positive for coronavirus that was never meant to publish was accidentally posted on Deadline. It was pulled down immediately,” the outlet said.
It never should have been posted and Deadline will take steps to see this kind of thing never happens again. Apologies to the Vice President and our readers. We regret the error.
Deadline Note To ReadersA draft post of a story about Vice President Mike Pence testing positive for coronavirus that was never meant to publish was accidentally posted on DeadlineApologies to the Vice President and our readersMore: https://t.co/vq4f0mDN29— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) October 8, 2020
Many observers were bewildered by the accidental publication, deeming it “unbelievable” and an “editor’s nightmare.” It remains unclear how the story could have gone out mistakenly, as publishing typically involves a multi-step process rather than one errant click – saying nothing of the unmistakable editor’s note attached to the piece. Some netizens demanded a better accounting for the mix-up, deeming Deadline’s brief statement “not acceptable.”
SOMEONE IS IN BIG TROUBLE @DEADLINE They had pre-written an entire article for if Mike Pence tests positive for the virus which mistakenly got published. This is really insane.The THIRST to be first here is unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/R7YgaTEef1— Lewis Wedmore (@LewisWedmore) October 8, 2020
Hey Deadline -- your excuse is not acceptable. Answer this, why did you write a draft story alleging VP Mike Pence tested positive in the first place? Your writers aren't good enough to write news as it actually happens? https://t.co/KVx509Plh6Disgusting.— Joe Pags Pagliarulo (@JoeTalkShow) October 9, 2020
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