But other than those thoughts, this is by no means a happy story.
This is actually in a sense "Paul Vance Story #2." Very similar situation. An individual for years falsely claims to be a celebrity whom they were not. The person dies and a believing family member manages to get an obit posted with bogus information. The biggest problem is that the bogus information can spread very quickly over the Internet and this can cause grief to so many people.
Though I have no objection to the publication having done so, I did not expect the Santa Monica Observer to include my email message to them in the follow-up article. This was strictly their choice and a total surprise to me. (Thankfully they removed my email address and my phone number without me having to ask them to do so.)
In retrospect I feel that I did the right thing -- questioning their information -- but I do feel bad that the original reporter may be reprimanded. Nevertheless there are certain responsibilities you have as a reporter and when something involves the alleged death of a celebrity (and Marcie did have her "15 minutes of fame" and is still well-known to many) there should be extra fact-checking done: that sadly did not happen here until I called them out on the story. By the way you may have noticed that there is a comment from Tom Diehl included at the bottom of the Santa Monica Observer page which pretty much says what I had told them.
Then there is Wikipedia which, as you may be aware, anyone can edit. Likewise there are many people there who can remove edits and revert back to the original, even if the original information is wrong.
After several unsuccessful attempt to correct Wikipedia I was finally able to convince them that singer Marcie Blane is still alive. (They kept undoing my changes. Finally they got it right and, in fact, added a "False Report Of Death" section to her article.
Unfortunately if I simply the name "Marcie Blane" there is still bogus information that pops up claiming that she died on October 9. I am trying to get that corrected (there is a "feedback" option) but have so far been unsuccessful.
One positive note is that a limited number of places (other than the Observer) ran with the story and those that did used the Observer as the source and subsequently let people know of the serious error in the original Observer article.
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