Reuters accidentally ‘kills’ Soros

Reuters accidentally ‘kills’ Soros

Reuters accidentally ‘kills’ Soros

‘George Soros is alive and well,’ his company’s representative says. REUTERS photo

Reuters accidentally published an obituary for the 82-year-old Hungarian financier George Soros on April 18, pronouncing that he “died XXX at age XXX.”

“George Soros, enigmatic financier, liberal philanthropist dies at XX,” the article’s headline read.

“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,” it added.

The news agency admitted its mistake and withdrew the article within the hour. A spokesman for Soros told Reuters that the New York-based billionaire was alive and well. News outlets regularly prepare obituaries for public figures and use placeholders for dates and ages. Barb Burg, head of communications at Reuters, told the Wall Street Journal that someone “pressed publish” by accident.

Past accidents

The article pointed the finger at Soros for selling short the British pound in 1992 and helping to force the U.K. to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which devalued the pound and earned Soros more than $1 billion.

It also said Soros Fund Management sold short the Thai baht and Malaysian ringgit in 1997, leading many to blame Soros for triggering the Asian financial crisis of that year.

Bloomberg accidentally published an obituary of Apple founder Steve Jobs, who had long been battling pancreatic cancer, in 2008. In 2003, a technical glitch on CNN’s website reportedly caused the draft obituaries for Fidel Castro, Dick Cheney, Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan to appear online. In 2011, a New York Times obituary for Elizabeth Taylor held the byline of Mel Gussow, a writer who died in 2005.