Last night, TMZ was writing Lil Wayne off, finger hovering above the button to post the prepared obituary:
Wayne's mother is currently on a plane flying to Los Angeles -- and we're told all major decisions about Wayne's health (including the decision to discontinue life support) will not be made until she arrives.What TMZ have quietly, and shamelessly, dropped from their story is their claim that Wayne had received the last rites. Because it simply wasn't true.
You'd think TMZ, of all people, would know that you can't do something like that without people noticing - they might have taken down the fact-that-wasn't, but all the gossip sites that leach off them had already copied the story and written 'TMZ say Wayne getting last rites' into the permanent record. And a gazillion tweets also caught the error:
BREAKING: TMZ reports that rapper Lil Wayne is in critical condition and has been read his last rites. wp.me/p2OIU3-7bj— FOX17 (@FOX17) March 16, 2013
The reaction to TMZ's early dispatch on Lil'Wayne's final dispatch hasn't been warm, it's fair to say. The Huffington Post captured TI's response:
That shit surely got his mama hurtin,his kids hurtin,& he got true to da game patnas like me & Othas who ready to RIDE bout all da fuck shitWhich, funnily enough, is exactly the same thing Leveson said in his report in the section on the Express' coverage of The McCanns.
To be fair to TMZ, their crack team has realised that something is odd about the whole story:
Wayne is sleeping right now ... which is odd, because he just tweeted saying he's OK and thanking people for the prayers and love.Yes, the attempt to try and pretend it hadn't killed him off is being built around an attempt to make something out of the idea that someone might be tweeting from his account.
You know what, TMZ - the really astonishing thing about Lil Wayne's official account saying he's OK isn't that it contradicts what you heard about him sleeping, but more that it contradicts the thing you published about him having the last rites.
Sure, everyone makes mistakes and - in a bid to outrun the hearses, you're going to be liable to make mistakes of this nature. But surely - as self-appointed guardians of showbiz behaviour - an admission and an apology is what's called for, not a silent deletion and a hope nobody noticed?
Bonus bogus: TMZ collect a bunch of reactions to Wayne's hospitalization, not one of which mentions last rites, nor the site's part in the exaggeration of his death.