Chaos ensued on social media Tuesday morning when people were duped into believing that beloved author Cormac McCarthy was dead.
A fake Twitter account posing as American publisher Alfred A. Knopf posted that the novelist had died of a stroke, which led to other mainstream media outlets, including USA Today, taking the false news and running with it.
BREAKING: We were totes first to report news based on a fake Twitter account.— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) June 28, 2016
UPDATE: We might've gotten that wrong. pic.twitter.com/0TLtVpe9fO
The original hoax tweet read, “URGENT. Author Cormac McCarthy dies for stroke at 82.”
URGENT. Author Cormac McCarthy dies for stroke at 82.— Alfred A. Knopf News (@AKnopfNews) June 28, 2016
As a publishing house, most would expect that the real Knopf account wouldn’t make blatant grammatical errors such as typing “for stroke” as opposed to “of a stroke” — but anything goes on social media so the poor English was clearly not enough of a red flag for media to question its veracity.
Twitter users who also fell into this trap were already rushing to eulogize the author and reflect upon how his works impacted their lives.
Despite what Joyce Carol Oates tells you, Cormac McCarthy's publicist tells me he is alive. This is a hoax. pic.twitter.com/GgoQAaCqTK— Zach Schonfeld (@zzzzaaaacccchhh) June 28, 2016
This is the most confusing "Is This Person Dead" scare, but @USATODAY just took down their Cormac McCarthy is dead banner, so we're good?— Zachary Berg (@ZacharyBerg) June 28, 2016
McCarthy’s publicist promptly squashed the tragic rumors by confirming that he is alive and well, despite reports that claim otherwise. Eventually, the fake Twitter account also admitted to being a hoax.
“This account is hoax created by Italian journalist Tommasso Debenedetti. McCarthy is alive and well.” At least learning the prankster’s identity explains the poor grammar.
This account is hoax created by Italian journalist Tommasso Debenedetti. McCarthy is alive and well.— Alfred A. Knopf News (@AKnopfNews) June 28, 2016
McCarthy’s renowned works include “No Country for Old Men,” “The Road,” and “The Counselor,” which were also adapted into feature-length films.
Luckily, this dreadful news was one big fat lie. After the deaths of musical icons David Bowie and Prince, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, film star Alan Rickman, and “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee, among many others — the world of creative arts can’t handle another iconic loss.
Banner Photo Credit: flickr