The Death of Heath Ledger: Why Can’t News Sources Get It Right?

I have been completely saddened by the death of actor Heath Ledger. But I have also become completely INFURIATED with the mainstream news media, particularly at the NY Times, and their inability to report this story properly.

I heard about the death when many people did, around 4:50pm yesterday when I overheard some male co-workers talking about Heath Ledger movies. I asked, “Why are you listing out Heath Ledger movies?” They replied, “Because he’s dead.” “He’s not DEAD!,” I scoffed. But they insisted, “No, he just died.” I immediately went to Google and did a news search for Heath Ledger–and there was the horrible truth–stories announcing the death of the Australian actor.

heath ledger media reaction

I found the one story that I thought would be the most accurate–the New York Times “City Room” blog. I’ll write more about this later, but over the next 2 1/2 hours I would see drastic changes to the stories, the removal of “facts” and complete sections re-written with every refresh.

At one point the Times blog led with the “fact” that the apartment that Ledger died in was owned by diminutive Mary-Kate Olsen, which turned out to be completely false. Where did I found out the inkling that the Mary-Kate angle was untrue? On TMZ.com for god’s sake!

Now an Australian paper is reporting nothing about the masseuse angle, but instead saying that the housekeeper was at the apartment “to fix some lightbulbs” and let herself in–consequentially finding Ledger’s dead body.

Reports are now leaning toward an accidental death, instead of the previous reports that the death looked like a suicide. While the NY Times and other pubs once said that Ledger’s body was found with pills scattered about his body–now reports say that was not the case–pills were found in various locations in the apartment (like the bathroom), but not out of their packages or bottles.

Puts a totally different spin on the story, doesn’t’ it?

What kind of world do we live in where I cannot trust the NY Times, but TMZ seems to have the most accurate information on a death story. You would think that the NY Times would have a good homicide or crime reporter to cover this–to get real facts and do real reporting.

Yes, I realize that it’s the NY Times BLOG, but it’s still the NY Times, I would have thought them better than the rest.

I am horrified and disturbed by the amount of misinformation that has been reported about Heath Ledger’s death. Seriously, why can’t those reporting the story get it straight before unleashing false rumors out into the world. I’m sure there are still people out there who think that Mary-Kate Olsen was somehow responsible for Heath Ledger’s death.

JOIN ME IN VENTING YOUR ANGER AT THE NEWS-REPORTING MEDIA RIGHT HERE.

Author: laura

I run The Modern Age.org

13 thoughts on “The Death of Heath Ledger: Why Can’t News Sources Get It Right?”

  1. Right but seriously, you do know the most accurate source to receive the news now is from The Daily Show, right? This is how reliable conventional press is now.

  2. I do think it’s terrible to start and perpetuate rumours, but the media’s like that in the immediate aftermath of a big event. They have zero info, but are expected to report SOMETHING (that being their job), so they seem to report anything.
    I remember the news reports straight after the London bombings saying that people had only suffered minor injuries, so my initial response was, “Yeah, it’s no big deal . . .” (you have to remember that while I was growing up, IRA bombings seemed to be pretty commonplace . . .)
    In the digital age people don’t want to wait for ratified facts . . .

  3. I do think it’s terrible to start and perpetuate rumours, but the media’s like that in the immediate aftermath of a big event. They have zero info, but are expected to report SOMETHING (that being their job), so they seem to report anything.
    I remember the news reports straight after the London bombings saying that people had only suffered minor injuries, so my initial response was, “Yeah, it’s no big deal . . .” (you have to remember that while I was growing up, IRA bombings seemed to be pretty commonplace . . .)
    In the digital age people don’t want to wait for ratified facts . . .

  4. God, I agree so much. Over here in Holland newspapers and even the national news channel has taken these things from the internet without even checking the fact, thus all dutch people now think he was a junkie who killed himself. Such a damn shame. I’m glad I know better and that there are other people out there just as outraged as I am.

  5. That´s weird and sad. Here in Brazil most of websites and even popular newspaper are saying and pounding at the connection between Heath and Olsen…

  6. I think the NY Times probably did their best with the resources they had at the time. Just like every other magazine/newspaper/blog at the time. Look on the bright side: at least it wasn’t Johnny Depp.

  7. I feel as though the wording could have been a lot better. They hardly used the terms “allegedly” or “according to XYZ source” or “so-and-so said.” I feel as though they presented a lot of the “info” as pure fact when even the police hadn’t really sorted out what was going on. I guess news waits for no one these days–even if it’s all misinformation.

  8. If you think the papers are bad, TV has been even worse! On Entertainment Tonight, they spent the first five minutes of the show interviewing a close friend of Heath’s who basically said Heath was NOT depressed, NOT on drugs, and that what happened was most likely an accident…and then went on to expound on how Heath was depressed after breaking up with Michelle and implying that it was the reason he died. Now, I realize ET is hardly the bastion of journalistic ethics, but they reached a new low in skewing the facts to suit their angle.

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