This breaking news just in: The Rev. Billy Graham is, in fact, NOT dead.
For at least a brief time this week, the NPR team reported otherwise in its coverage of Donald Trump's closed-door meeting with (certain) evangelical leaders:
This is the correction appended to the bottom of the story:
June 21, 2016
An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to "the late evangelist Rev. Billy Graham." Graham, 97, has not died.
"Oops!" I said in reply to the GetReligion reader who shared the NPR link.
"That's a major oops!" the reader replied.
This correction, I think, is so indicative of the MSM’s ignorance of religion, especially evangelicals. The writer ... perhaps, can be forgiven for not knowing that the most famous preacher in the world is still living. But it appears there wasn’t even an editor or other staffer at NPR who saw the glaring error before it was posted.
This is worthy of wider attention, IMHO.
Wider attention? Consider it done. And thanks for writing a major portion of this post for me. Meanwhile, let's stress once again one of GetReligion's basic rules, which is that we very rarely criticize reporters because stories go through many hands and there's no way to know where an error took place (or where one could have been caught). The veteran journalists on the GetReligion team all have painful memories of errors being edited INTO our work.
Also, while I agree with the perspective expressed by the reader, I live in constant fear that a post like this will be followed immediately by my own equally stupid error in a story I write. "But for the grace of God go I ..." Be careful out there, journalist friends!
Still, the Billy-Graham-has-not-died correction ranks right up there with some of my favorites of recent years, including this one:
By the way, in case you're wondering how Graham fits into a story on Trump, this is the context of the NPR mention:
Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, addressed Trump's personal flaws that bother some evangelicals -- including his multiple marriages, past support for abortion rights and foul language.
Graham pointed out that in lots of stories in the Bible, people messed up. After all, Graham told the crowd of devout Christians, the prophet Moses led his people out of slavery in Egypt but disobeyed God; King David committed adultery and murder; and the apostle Peter, who, as one of Jesus' closest followers, really should have had his back, denied three times that he'd ever known Jesus.
"There is none of us that are perfect," Graham said. "There's no perfect person — there's only one, and that's the Lord Jesus Christ, but he's not running for president of the United States."
Our own tmatt, of course, covered the broader issues associated with news reporting on the Trump meeting.
Check it out if you have not already: