Reuters Published Obituary of Famed Investor – But He's Alive
Well, that’s embarrassing.
How macabre it must be to find out that you’ve passed away. At one point, it was number four on Yahoo’s (NASDAQ: YHOO) most search list on Friday. That’s especially extraordinary when that day is Friday, April 19—where the understatement of the year might be that it was a busy news day.
The person who supposedly died? Billionaire George Soros. The Atlantic Wire, in a piece cleverly titled, Reuters Killed George Soros, reported that at 5:41 p.m. Thursday, Reuters published Soros’ obituary along with the place holders that aren’t yet determined.
“(Reuters) - George Soros, who died XXX at age XXX, was a predatory and hugely successful financier and investor, who argued paradoxically for years against the same sort of free-wheeling capitalism that made him billions.”
If that’s not news enough, the old cliché “don’t speak ill of the dead,” may have fallen on deaf ears to Reuters’ obituary department. (Not that it has one but if it does, it might be hiring a new editor) Calling a dead man “predatory” doesn’t seem very nice but the thousand-plus word piece is just getting started.
It makes light of the fact that he offered to help his own mother commit suicide, but forgets to name his fiancé or any of his five children. To top it all off, the Atlantic reports that Reuters obviously sourced much of the information from none other than Wikipedia. (What was that about a new editor?)
But hey, Reuters was kind of enough to issue this apology. Apparently it regrets publishing the piece but not the snarky characterization.
But let’s be the eternal optimists. This isn’t so bad, is it? Every cloud has a silver lining and in this case, there are at least three.
First, don’t most of us want to know what will be written about us when we die? We hope that all the good will be at the forefront and the skeletons in our closet will be forgotten, at least in the beginning. Soros now knows that Reuters, who wrongly accused him of funneling money to Occupy Wall Street, doesn’t plan to give him that courtesy.
Second, maybe Soros could grab a red pen and do some editing of his own. The least Reuters can do is be open to some rewrites. Maybe it could try again and re-accidentally publish it. Maybe it could mention his children.
Finally, Reuters can say, “At least we’re not Bloomberg.” Remember when Bloomberg prematurely published the obituary of Steve Jobs?
Next time you make one of those embarrassing mistakes at home or at work, you can find a bit of silver lining of your own. At least you’re not a media giant that announced the death of a man who is number 30 on Forbes billionaire list.
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