CNN Falls for Hoax in Tweeting Death of Singapore’s Founder

By Mark Joyella 

CNN’s hugely popular @cnnbrk breaking news Twitter account tweeted to its 25 million followers the death of Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, and then admitted the report may have been false, second a second tweet reading “reports emerge that statement attributed to Singapore government…may not be official.”

The tweet, as of this writing, has not been deleted. [Update: CNN has deleted the tweet.]

Journalists in Singapore report the city-state’s founder’s condition remains unchanged, and point to hoax photos circulating via social media that may have been the source of CNN’s report. The Straits Times reports the office of Singapore’s prime minister is lodging a police report about “a fake website bearing the PMO logo” that announced Lee’s death. Screenshots of the phony site began circulating Wednesday.

UPDATE: CNN has reported questions about the “authenticity” of the website that said Lee had died.

MORE: The Singapore-based Straits News reports other news agencies fell for the bogus website. “CCTV, Sina and Phoenix Chinese News similarly reported on Mr Lee’s death but shortly after said the reports had been wrong. Sina and Phoenix apologised for the mistake.” CNN has not apologized, and not responded to TVNewser’s request for comment on the network’s source for mistakenly reporting Lee’s death.