Deadline posts story saying Vice President Mike Pence has COVID-19 (he doesn't)

"It never should have been posted and Deadline will take steps to see this kind of thing never happens again," the entertainment news site later promised.

Updated: October 9, 2020 - 2:33pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Other Media

Deadline, a website that says it has been "breaking Hollywood news since 2006," might want to slow down and double check what it posts.

"Vice President Mike Pence Tests Positive for Coronavirus 8 Days After Donald Trump," blared the headline of a piece published on the site Thursday.

He didn't.

The site apologized for publishing the story, which was live for a short time — even though it had an all-caps warning telling editors at the site to "NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES," according to screenshots of the story posted on social media.

The outlet pulled the piece and later issued this statement, claiming that the story was posted "accidently" [sic] (the site might also want to hire a copy editor):

"A draft post of a story about Vice President Mike Pence testing positive for coronavirus that was never meant to publish was accidently posted on Deadline. It was pulled down immediately. 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."

The "accidently" posted piece raised eyebrows on social media. "This is a weird thing online right now," journalist Sheryl Attkisson, a Just the News contributor, wrote on Twitter.

"What part of 'DO NOT PUBLISH' did the editor not understand?'" wrote another.

President Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 1. He spent three days at the Walter Reed National Medical Center and was discharged on Sunday. His doctor, Sean Conley, said late Thursday the president has no symptoms and can "safely" return to public events on Saturday.

The vice president, meanwhile, tested negative for the virus each day from Friday to Monday and again Wednesday just before  the vice presidential debate against Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in Utah. 

Another person on Twitter wondered how it was not only published but then posted on social media:

"I can understand someone at Deadline mistakenly hitting 'publish' on Pence COVID story, but having social media person publish tweet about it as well is something I think can only happen because everyone is working from home and not communicating as much as they normally would."



Just the News Spotlight