Deadline seems to have briefly published, then taken down, story that says Pence has tested positive for coronavirus

Deadline seems to have briefly published, then taken down, a breaking news story including the sentence “Pence announced late Wednesday that he is among those who have tested positive in the ongoing White House coronavirus outbreak.”

1. Google search for “tom tapp coronavirus pence” shows a hit for a Deadline story with a headline prefaced “PREP. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES.”

2. Clicking the URL takes you to an error…


3. Clicking the down arrow by the URL reveals Google’s “Cached” version of that page.


Some years ago, people found CNN had pre-published obituaries of famous figures, but not announced the URLs. Following the pattern of other obituaries, people hacked the URL to predict the URLs that would be given to future obituaries. In that case it was an obvious error.

I’m not sure what to make of Deadline’s publication. Apparently they thought they had a story and were ready to run with it. The version that was published is clearly marked not for publication. So I assume this was a genuine technical error. It’s still pretty embarrassing.