Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Staying Alive

After a flurry of high-profile deaths (Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Billy Mays) in late June, the Internet in general, and Twitter in particular, exploded with false reports of the untimely demise of all sorts of celebrities — including The Fly himself, Jeff Goldblum. Rumors swirled that Goldblum had died on the New Zealand set of his latest movie. Thing is, though, he was in Los Angeles, alive and well. Some other subjects of false death notices that week: Britney Spears (a regular on the "She's dead! No, she's not!" circuit) and Harrison Ford. Both parties live on. The King of Pop's death was followed by what a German television station called an experiment, in which it aired a video purporting to show Jackson stepping out of a coroner's van alive. "It was made to show how easy it is to spread rumors online," said Heike Schultz, a spokeswoman for the station. Thanks for the newsflash, lady.