Reporting on the Death of Neil Armstrong, 82, the First Man to Walk on the Moon, NBC News on the Internet Initially Gets It Wrong. Armstrong’s First Steps Captivated TV Viewers in One of the Most Famous TV Broadcasts Ever

Aug 25, 2012  •  Post A Comment

[Headline Changed on 8-26-2012 at 10:53 p.m, PT, to reflect the fact this story is no longer breaking news. Body of story not changed. Original headline was "Neil Armstrong, 82, the First Man to Walk on the Moon, Dies. His First Steps Captivated TV Viewers in One of the Most Famous TV Broadcasts Ever. Also, on the Internet NBC News at First Reports the Wrong Person Has Died"]

Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, has died. He was 82.

According to NBC News, which first reported the astronaut’s death, "His family reported the death at 2:45 p.m. ET [on Saturday, 8-25-2012]. A statement said he died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures."

The Los Angeles Times obituary notes that "Armstrong’s lunar stroll on July 20, 1969 — watched by an estimated 600 million television viewers worldwide — established him firmly as one of the great heroes of the 20th century."

If one clicks on the NBC News story on the Web, it now carries this update: "(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included the wrong name in the headline.)"

The editor’s note does not say what name NBC News originally wrote in its headline. Here is a screenshot TVWeek took of the original NBC News headline:


Neil Young, the famous Canadian folk-rock musician, is 66 and not dead. (The picture in the screenshot is Neil Armstrong. It was only in the headline that NBC News wrote the name of the wrong Neil.)


  1. Actually your headline is wrong. They did not report the wrong person, since they said it was was the “first man to walk on moon.” They had the wrong name only.

  2. They were just a little off. Neil Young was the first man to walk on the Harvest Moon.

  3. The rush to be first.
    All news organizations try to beat each other to air breaking news to beat the other network. Of course in that rush to be first rather than right, they get it wrong.
    Especially on their web content.
    There’s probably a 20 year old intern without knowledge of history, and this is about history, that forgot what they learned in history class and wrote in the wrong name.
    Be right rather than first. The first thing they teach you in the news business.
    Another bad example of mediocrity in the news world.

  4. IT”S NBC!! always fail at everything I hate them

  5. NBC is always good for a laugh!

  6. Sounds like TV Week in an effort to make mountains out of Mole Hills made a mistake too.

  7. They don’t teach history anymore…too “controversial.” After all, history is written by the “winners.”

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