Orrin Hatch Has Died: Google

“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” – Sen. Hatch

Google’s gaffe continues a long line of celebrity death hoaxes

| By John Bonazzo, Observer.com – A lot of people say Republicans are dead inside, but Google took that a little too literally.

Last night Utah Senator Orrin Hatch took the search engine to task over a glitch that made it look like the lawmaker was dead.

When users searched Hatch’s name, the information box on the right side of the screen claimed he died on September 11, 2017.

Hatch is one of the oldest senators, and the 84-year-old is actually retiring at the end of his current term. But he is still very much alive.

Other political death hoaxes have fooled the media over the years.

  • Just a few months ago, CBS erroneously published an obituary for former First Lady Barbara Bush two days before she actually died. Ironically the words “Do not publish” were in the headline.
  • Bush’s husband also prematurely met his maker on cable news.
  • In 1992, a man called CNN claiming to be George H.W. Bush’s personal physician. He claimed Bush had died after a fainting spell in Tokyo. The incident was nearly reported on air before station personnel realized it was a hoax.
  • And multiple news organizations reported that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords died during a 2011 shooting in Tucson, citing a false NPR story. In fact, the Reuters report about Giffords’ death is still online to this day.
  • These fake death notices have also become increasingly common in the entertainment industry, especially in the age of social media.

In some cases, one celebrity dying in real life has caused another to be pronounced dead prematurely.

After Paul Walker perished in a car crash in 2013, rumors abounded that Eddie Murphy was dead after a similar incident. The actor’s publicist simply responded that “Eddie Murphy has not died.”

All these stories send a clear message for news outlets and tech companies to continually check that the information published on their sites is accurate.

Because when it’s not, consumers (and sassy Senate social media accounts) will call you out on it. Read the full story at Observer.com.


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