Muhammad Osman. Sputnik International
Last week, US President Donald Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, tested positive for COVID-19, and the 74-year-old president was hospitalized for 3 days. Trump’s infection was followed by a significant number of White House officials contracting the disease. Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus.
US news website Deadline apologized on Thursday for publishing a draft article that claimed US Vice President Mike Pence had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
“A draft post of a story about Vice President Mike Pence testing positive for coronavirus that was never meant to publish was accidently [sic] posted on Deadline. It was pulled down immediately,” the outlet said in a statement 30 minutes following the story’s publication. “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.”
The now-deleted article, screenshots of which went viral on social media, contained a disclaimer in the headline, written in capital letters, saying “DO NOT PUBLISH”.
“PREP. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES. Vice President Mike Pence Tests Positive for Coronavirus 8 Days After Donald Trump,” the headline read, with the opening sentence claiming, “The two most powerful men in America now have coronavirus.”
The error did not stop at publishing the false story regardless of the disclaimer, it had been posted to Deadline’s twitter account as well.
For those wondering what mistake Deadline made here it is. They mistakenly published a draft of a story saying Pence has tested positive for COVID. Did they have their Twitter account set to automatically tweet every story that published? pic.twitter.com/Ee6GcA1PjH
— Kim Zetter (@KimZetter) October 8, 2020
The story linked Pence’s alleged infection with the fact that his boss, Trump, and the president’s wife, along with at least 34 White House staffers and “other contacts”, all tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Top Trump aide Hope Hicks, senior adviser Stephen Miller and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany are among those who have tested positive for the virus following the president’s infection.
Trump was hospitalized for three days at the Walter Reed Medical Center before returning to the White House on Monday.
Despite Pence’s close contact with Trump and other infected White House officials, the vice president reportedly tested negative for COVID-19, including on Wednesday ahead of his debate with the Democratic VP nominee, Senator Kamala Harris.