Student’s Wikipedia hoax dupes newspapers: report
Posted Thu May 7, 2009 6:01am AEST
An Irish student’s fake quote on the Wikipedia online encyclopaedia has been used in newspaper obituaries around the world, the Irish Times reported on Wednesday.
The ABC article has attracted comments criticising reporters as being lazy when they use material from Wikipedia. One commentator Toby9000 asked, “OK, so which “major British, Indian and Australian newspapers” are we talking about here?”
If you searched Google for the phrase (note quote marks and the negative term Fitzgerald to ignore recent articles about the hoax):
“When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear” -Fitzgerald
You won’t find many newspaper results in Google around the time of Jarre’s death. I found only one from a newspaper – the Sydney Morning Herald. The Google snippet looks like this:
Life was one long soundtrack | smh.com.au
He had said: “When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head that only I can hear.” Telegraph, London;. Guardian News & Media …
Here is the link to the SMH article, but you won’t find the quote in it anymore. The pages are not cached. As if to fend off a MediaWatch story (as another commentator had hinted), the quote has been removed.
Almost. The Irish student’s quote included this snippet, “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack.” The title of the SMH article still reads, “Life was one long soundtrack”. Hoax or not, that’s a great attribution for the late composer.
The Guardian obituary of 31 March has been amended with this acknowledgment:
This article was amended on Friday 3 April 2009. Maurice Jarre died on 28 March 2009, not 29 March. We opened with a quotation which we are now advised had been invented as a hoax, and was never said by the composer: “My life has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life.” The article closed with: “Music is how I will be remembered,” said Jarre. “When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head and that only I can hear.” These quotes appear to have originated as a deliberate insertion in the composer’s Wikipedia entry in the wake of his death on 28 March, and from there were duplicated on various internet sites. These errors have been corrected.