Media criticism

Update to 'Newman dead' hoax story*

newman-dead-tmz.jpg* Looks like the TMZ site ("TMZ Today") and the US Magazine site were fake too. I pulled the links so as to not feed the click-bait beast. Here's my original post.

TMZ's website is still running a story with a big red-boxed headline that says actor Wayne Knight — known for portraying postman Newman on "Seinfeld" and other TV and movie parts — was killed in a car crash in upstate New York. The story has attributions to local officials, rich detail and a photo of the car in which Knight was supposedly mortally hurt. Except it's all bogus, and has been recognized as so at least since Sunday morning. Even so, hours after Knight himself tweeted his thanks for all the concern, the original story remains up at TMZ uncorrected and with Knight's death date emblazoned in red — to keep collecting clicks, I guess.

US Weekly also ran the story and eventually added an "update" but at the bottom. The click-bait headline has not been modified. Of course the commenters at both sites are all over it.

Pretty sleazy by both media outlets, but Knight laughs it off:

Some of the fake news details published by TMZ [note again: it was a fake TMZ site.]

Actor Wayne Knight, better known to most for playing one of the most indelible roles on NBC's "Seinfeld" as the charater "Newman" is dead and two other passengers are critically injured after their vehicle slammed into a disabled semi-tractor-trailer late Saturday night along Route 446 near the Pennsylvania-New York state border in Eldred Township.


Kane-based state police have identified the deceased as the lovable "Newman." McKean County Coroner Jeff Levin said Knight died of blunt force trauma at the scene. Also injured in the crash were two of Knight's passengers, Christopher Davidson, 33, and an unidentified male, both of New York state. Police say the unidentified male was ejected from the back seat of the sedan.

Both male occupants were taken to Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital in critical condition before being flown to Buffalo, N.Y., area hospitals, according to a spokesperson for the Eldred Township Volunteer Fire Department. The unidentified male was the only rider not wearing a seatbelt....


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