How I got it wrong about the status of Congressman Bill Young’s health

By on October 17, 2013
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U.S. Rep. Bill Young is not dead, despite some reports, including my own Tweeting,  indicating that he had died.

“US Rep. CW Bill Young has not died, contrary to some reports. This is confirmed,” said Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times via Twitter.

As Zachary Stieber notes, It’s not the first time that Young has been rumored to have died. 

In Oct. 2011, a story from the National Journal titled “Congressman Denies Rumors He’s Dead” was about the subject.

Local police in Tampa had received an anonymous tip that Young had died. 

“Still alive and kicking,” said Young.

“That was strange,” Young’s chief of staff, Harry Glenn, said at the time. 

NBC reporter Luke Russert, a NBC reporter, is one of those who reported that Young had. He gave an update 40 minutes later saying that his original tweet was wrong.

I was one of, if not the first, to say Young had died. I had it confirmed with two members, albeit distant, of the Young family who said they had been contacted with news of Young’s death. When I asked why they were telling me, they said it was because of my “fair coverage.” 

Keep in mind, I’ve been watching this situation for the last 24 hours. It did not surprise me when I heard Young had passed, as it probably did surprise others.

My first tweet about Young’s situation reflected the knowledge I had from the family members, but was qualified with a second tweet that it was unconfirmed. Once I read Russert’s tweet, I greenlighted my second series of tweets about multiple sources confirming Young’s death. 

Like I tweeted, I’d rather be wrong than right about this one. Bill Young is a great man.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Young family said that “Young’s condition turned for the worse over night and he is gravely ill. His doctors say his prognosis is guarded.”

My prayers are with the Young family.