The media went crazy today reporting that the renowned singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell is in a coma.
But, she’s not. Her representatives took to Twitter and her website tonight to combat the “rumors.”
“Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet today, Joni is not in a coma,” her website states. “Joni is still in the hospital – but she comprehends, she’s alert, and she has her full senses. A full recovery is expected.”
Contrary to rumors, Joni is not in a coma. See full statement at http://t.co/4RySZ6G3gm
— JoniMitchell.com (@JoniMitchellcom) April 28, 2015
The website statement also counters TMZ’s claim about what the legal document filed by her friend Leslie Morris means.
“The document obtained by a certain media outlet simply gives her longtime friend Leslie Morris the authority – in the absence of 24-hour doctor care – to make care decisions for Joni once she leaves the hospital,” Mitchell’s site says. “As we all know, Joni is a strong-willed woman and is nowhere near giving up the fight. Please continue to keep Joni in your thoughts. You may add your well wishes for her at the website WeLoveYouJoni.com.”
Who reported Mitchell was in the coma? Lots and lots of outlets. Below, iMediaEthics collected screenshots of the reports.
The coma claim came from TMZ, which reported this afternoon: “Joni Mitchell is unconscious in a hospital, unable to respond to anyone, with no immediate prospects for getting better.”
The Huffington Post’s headline::
Huffington Post reported: “Joni Mitchell’s health has taken a turn for the worse, TMZ reported on Tuesday. The Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter was hospitalized last month after being found unconscious in her home. According to TMZ, Mitchell is unresponsive.”
After Mitchell’s representatives issued the statement denying the coma, Huffington Post changed its headline to “Joni Mitchell’s Reps Give Health update.”
The Huffington Post published this correcton: “CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story cited a TMZ report claiming that Joni Mitchell was in a coma. It has been updated with a statement from her reps.”
The Sydney Morning Herald published an AFP/AP story with the headline:
“Folk music legend Joni Mitchell is in a coma and unresponsive four weeks after she was admitted to hospital,” the story read.
“Canadian songwriting legend Joni Mitchell is in a coma and unresponsive, according to TMZ,” the Canadian Press’s report on the Globe and Mail said.
After the statement from Mitchell’s reps, the Globe and Mail changed its headline and posted the statement from Mitchell’s reps. There was no correction as of 8:10 PM EST.
iMediaEthics asked the Globe and Mail if it would post a correction. Jim Sheppard, the executive editor for the globeandmail.com, told iMediaEthics by e-mail:
“We published the original CP story with its attribution to TMZ, as I recall. As soon as there was later information from Reuters quoting her website, we updated the story at the same URL and mentioned that the earlier coma report had been denied. This is common practice at most major media websites. Our story at this writing, mentions and credits all existing and contradictory reports. Again, standard practice.”
The Associated Press story, published on Time magazine’s website, didn’t say Mitchell was in a coma, instead reporting that Mitchell is unconscious.
The AP story on Time magazine’s site has been updated.
Pitchfork went with “Joni Mitchell Reportedly in a Coma, Unresponsive.”
Pitchfork reported: “On March 31, Joni Mitchell was hospitalized. Though her exact condition was never disclosed, he representatives shared statements saying that her condition was improving. TMZ now reports that the iconic singer/songwriter is in a coma and unresponsive. Billboard cite “multiple sources” who say her condition was worse than her representatives led the public to believe. “It’s very serious,” said one source.”
Pitchfork has since updated its headline, which now states:
Pitchfork posted an update to its story quoting from the Mitchell website and noting that TMZ has been defending its report.
US Weekly said:
US Weekly has now changed its headline and posted an update. Its new headline:
The US Weely update atop its story reads:
“UPDATE: A statement posted to the singer’s website refutes TMZ’s report about Mitchell’s health. ‘Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet today, Joni is not in a coma,’ the statement reads. ‘Joni is still in the hospital — but she comprehends, she’s alert, and she has her full senses. A full recovery is expected. The document obtained by a certain media outlet simply gives her longtime friend Leslie Morris the authority — in the absence of 24-hour doctor care — to make care decisions for Joni once she leaves the hospital. As we all know, Joni is a strong-willed woman and is nowhere near giving up the fight. Please continue to keep Joni in your thoughts.'”
Variety said, “Legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell is in a coma and cannot respond to anyone, a longtime friend said in a new court filing.” Its headline read:
Since the press statement on MItchell’s site, Variety has posted an “update” to its article and changed its headline. Its headline now reads: “Joni Mitchell Not in a Coma, Says Official Website.”
The story’s update says:
“Contrary to a TMZ report, Joni Mitchell is not in a coma, according to the singer’s official website.
“’Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet today, Joni is not in a coma,’ the statement said. ‘Joni is still in the hospital – but she comprehends, she’s alert, and she has her full senses. A full recovery is expected.'”
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. published the story, “Joni Mitchell is in a coma, unresponsive, TMZ reports.” CBC has updated the story with Mitchell’s website’s statement.
The UK Independent published this story:
The AFP reported:
iMediaEthics has asked the AFP if it will correct.
UPDATED: 4/28/2015 8:40 PM EST Added info
UPDATED: 4/28/2015 9:41 PM EST Added response from Globe and Mail