In an utterly shameful episode of journalistic malpractice, Deadline published a completely false story claiming that Vice President Mike Pence had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. While the news outlet quickly retracted the story, it did not explicitly correct the record or state that Pence definitively does not have COVID-19.
The Deadline story was clearly an unfinished draft. The headline read, “PREP. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES. Vice President Mike Pence Tests Positive For Coronavirus 8 Days After Donald Trump.”
Katie Miller, the vice president’s communications director, condemned the story as “IRRESPONSIBLE & UTTERLY FALSE.”
Deadline immediately retracted the story but did not explicitly state that Pence does not have COVID-19.
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“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,” the news outlet explained. “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.”
Deadline’s tweet announcing the retraction also did not clarify Pence’s coronavirus status.
“Deadline Note To Readers: A draft post of a story about Vice President Mike Pence testing positive for coronavirus that was never meant to publish was accidentally posted on Deadline. Apologies to the Vice President and our readers,” the outlet tweeted.
While Deadline insisted that the story “was never meant to publish,” it never explicitly contradicted the idea that Pence had tested positive for COVID-19.