WBAP E-Mail Bulletin Erroneously Reports On Passing Of President George H.W. Bush
December 28, 2012 at 2:12 PM (PT)
CUMULUS MEDIA Talk WBAP/DALLAS has retracted and apologized for sending out a bulletin e-mail reporting that former Pres. GEORGE H.W. BUSH, who has been hospitalized to treat complications from a serious case of bronchitis, had died.
In fact, BUSH SR. is very much alive; a spokesperson for him went so far as to tell the AP to "put the harps back in the closet."
Thus, it didn't take long for WBAP to send out a retraction stating, "A message erroneously reporting the death of President GEORGE H.W. BUSH was sent out moments ago by WBAP News. Mr. BUSH has not passed away. We sincerely apologize for this error."
WBAP News Dir. RICK HADLEY told THE DALLAS OBSERVER that it was obviously a huge mistake. "As every news organization will do, we get our obituaries ready to go for people who aren't doing well," he said, which they did when BUSH was transferred into the ICU. Apparently, a bug in the e-mail system prompted that message to be sent out -- unbeknownst to the staff. The first time they realized the error was when the switchboard lit up with callers about 30 minutes after it happened.
"We would never, obviously, do that on purpose," HADLEY said. "We were obviously mortified. It's one of those things you wish you could undo and go back in time to take back."
At least the report was never read on the radio; the station corrected the mistake after the e-mail had been sent to about a third of its subscribers.