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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 1, 2017. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Jumped the gun

Fox News issues apology for implying Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died

January 22, 2019

The case of human error looked a lot to some like wishful thinking. For others it tweaked a very real latent fear. On Monday, Fox News morning show Fox and Friends aired a graphic of Ruth Bader Ginsburg captioned “1933-2019,” implying to viewers that the legendary Supreme Court Justice had died.

Ginsburg, 85, is very much alive, but recovering from surgery following a recent bout with lung cancer. Doctors have said that Ginsburg is now-cancer free, recovering smoothly, and should be expected to be back on the bench by February. Later on in the show, co-host Steve Doocy attributed the airing of the graphic to “a technical error,” adding that “we don’t want to make it seem anything other than that was a mistake.”

Social media users, however, unleashed a bevy of strong reactions to the false report of Ginsburg’s demise. On the left, some accused Fox of wishful thinking, noting that many Republicans seemed to be practically salivating at the prospect of Trump replacing Ginsburg’s liberal-leaning Supreme Court vote with the third conservative Supreme Court appointee of his term. On the right, other commentators responded with jabs at Ginsburg’s health.

It is not uncommon for news organizations to have obituaries already prepared to roll — especially for aging celebrities or public figures — so the newsroom can be ready in the case of their death. In 2003, for example, CNN accidentally made draft obituaries for seven major world figures available to the public. The Notorious RBG, as she is known by her fans, is the topic of a new documentary that traces her astounding legal career and ascent to the nation’s highest court. Despite her age, she has vowed to remain on the bench for at least five more years.

Saturday Night Live touched on a widespread latent fear of losing the beloved and formidable Ginsburg in a sketch late last year, about Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS controversial nomination and hearing. Kate McKinnon, in her seasoned impersonation of the Supreme Court justice, made an allusion to Kavanaugh’s assiduous calendar-keeping, showing the audience what her own calendars look like, from 1982 (“Turn 100”, “Break glass ceiling”) and 2018: “DON’T DIE.”

“That’s it,” she says. “That’s all I got to do.”

Watch Kate McKinnon deliver some classic ‘Gins-burns’ below:

Read the full story at Vulture.

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