The following explains why I have come to the conclusion that most media outlets are full of shit when it comes to journalistic integrity:
It is my contention that the majority of media today has very little to do with reporting stories and more to do with exploiting rumours and hearsay to their fullest, most speculative potential. The goals I see are mindless entertainment, soap opera-like sensationalism, and endless cliffhangers (so as to entice you to “tune in next time!”). An old saying goes something along the lines of ten people witnessing an accident and describing that accident in ten different ways, and I believe the same is true of the majority of media organizations today. Take, for example, the reports concerning the death of Heath Ledger. Below, I have listed twenty different online media sources, and cut-and-pasted some of the main details relating to his death to outline this type of ‘glance and chat’ reporting (the term ‘glance and chat’ refers to not taking enough time to hear, see, or take in as many details of the event that are or have taken place, but to glance once and then begin describing what you saw, even if that means making up details or giving multiple explanations for the existence of one detail…even if you have the time to glance again, or, look).
I think the phrase “Get it fast, get it first, and get it right” has been edited for today’s culture to include only the first two objectives…because getting it right takes time, and taking time means that your story won’t be the first to be read, no matter if your facts are correct or not.
P.S. I encourage you to take special note of the subtle suggestions some of the writers have injected into their reports as to how the actor may have died (as though the writers of said reports are also detectives and/or coroners).
New York Post:
January 22nd, 2008
apparently overdosed on anti-anxiety pills
some sources said Ledger was depressed
One cop at the scene said it did not appear to be suicide, but police were still investigating, and an autopsy is scheduled for today.
Ledger was found by his maid and the masseuse
When the two women entered his bedroom at about 3:20 p.m., Ledger was nude, lying face down and unresponsive, police sources said.
Pills were strewn around the bed, and there was a bottle next by the actor’s body, police sources said. The maid and therapist called 911 at about 3:26 p.m. Emergency workers were unable to revive the star, and he was pronounced dead at 3:35 p.m.
Bottles of the generic forms of Xanax and Valium, both anti-anxiety drugs prescribed in his name, were found in the house, according to law-enforcement sources. The sleeping drug Ambien was also found near his body, sources said. The maid said she last heard the star snoring around noon.
There were pills within the vicinity of the bed.
An “insider” told Britain’s Daily Mail that Ledger had been having substance-abuse problems since breaking up with Williams in September.
New York Times:
January 22nd, 2008 4:42 PM
found dead Tuesday afternoon in an apartment in Manhattan.
Some signs pointed to an accidental overdose or a suicide, although no note was found, police sources said.
At 3:31 p.m., according to the police, a masseuse arrived at the fourth-floor apartment of the building.
The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of the bedroom Mr. Ledger was in. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger naked and unconscious on a bed, with sleeping pills — both prescription medication and nonprescription — on a night table.
At first, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s deputy commissioner for public information, said that the apartment was owned by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, but later reversed himself and said that was not the case.
As news of Mr. Ledger’s death made its way across the Internet, the Police Department issued a fairly terse summary of the death: “On Tuesday, 01/22/08, at approximately 1530 hours, in the confines of the 5 precinct, police responded to 421 Broome Street and found a M/W/28 unconscious. The victim was pronounced DOA at the scene. M.E.’s office to determine the cause of death. Investigation continues.”
Police say they do not know the cause of death, but they appear to have ruled out foul play
According to a New York Times City Room blog post, Ledger was discovered by the housekeeper and a masseuse who arrived in the afternoon for an appointment
“We are investigating the possibility of an overdose,” police spokesman Paul Browne told Reuters news agency. “There were pills within the vicinity of the bed.” Police did not speculate whether the putative overdose might have been accidental or deliberate, but the media have not been so restrained.
Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday of a possible drug overdose in a Lower Manhattan apartment, the New York Police Department said.
Ledger was found naked and unresponsive, facedown on the floor at the foot of his bed by a housekeeper trying to wake him for an appointment with a masseuse, said police spokesman Paul Browne.”
“Pills were found in the vicinity of the bed,” he told CNN
This is being looked at as a possible overdose, but that is not confirmed yet.
Browne later told reporters some prescription medications were found in the room, including sleeping pills.
But he stressed police have made no determination of the cause of Ledger’s death — that would be done by the medical examiner.
He said the pills were not “scattered about.”
No note was found and there was no indication of foul play, Browne said. Ledger was found at about 3 p.m., and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel about 3:30 p.m.
Six different types of prescription drugs were found in Heath Ledger’s apartment — including anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills — though the cause of his death won’t be known for several days after a preliminary autopsy Wednesday came back inconclusive, authorities said.
A rolled-up $20 bill was also found on the floor near the Australian actor’s bed, but lab tests detected no traces of drug residue. Police also said no illegal drugs were found in the apartment.
Among the prescription medications found were pills to treat insomnia and anxiety, and an antihistamine, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Three of the drugs were prescribed in Europe, the sources said.
The Australian-born actor was found dead Tuesday by his housekeeper and a massage therapist — lying naked and face-down on his bed, police said. The pills were found in bottles in Ledger’s bedroom and bathroom, and police said the death was caused by a possible drug overdose and appeared to be accidental
Police said Ledger probably died Tuesday between 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. At 1 p.m., the housekeeper went into his bedroom to change a light bulb, saw him sleeping and heard him snoring.
At 2:45 p.m., the massage therapist showed up for Ledger’s appointment, knocked on his door and got no answer. She later noticed Ledger was unconscious and called actress Mary-Kate Olsen, whose number was programmed into Ledger’s cell phone, to seek advice.
January 22nd, 2008 4:40 PM
He was found dead in his bed in one of his residences in Soho by his housekeeper at 3:35 PM ET today. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ they believe it was not a crime, adding that prescription pills were found near his body.
According to NYPD a masseuse arrived at Ledger’s apartment and was let in by a housekeeper. When Ledger didn’t answer his bedroom door, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened it and found him unconscious. They attempted to wake him; when they couldn’t, they called 911.
We’re told when paramedics responded, the actor was in full cardiac arrest. They attempted to perform CPR on him, but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Chicago Sun Times:
January 23rd, 2008
The Australian-born actor was found dead Tuesday by his housekeeper and masseuse — lying naked and face-down at the foot of his bed, police said.
Police today said they found bottles of prescription sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication in his bedroom and in the bathroom; there were still pills in the bottles.
Earlier, police said the death was caused by a possible drug overdose and appeared to be accidental.
January 23rd, 2008 4:30 PM
It is with great relief that I post this report I just watched from CBS news. At 4:30 pm EST, CBS news showed the NY commissioner of police, and the commissioner stressed strongly that “NO ILLEGAL DRUGS were found in Mr. Ledger’s apartment
tonight at 6:43 pm EST, the CBS Nightly News reported that the $20 bill was absolutely clean of any chemical. THERE WAS NO COCAINE on the bill
It is now absolutely certain, per the NY medical examiner’s office, that Heath’s tragic passing was absolutely an accident
So when you see reports on Inside Edition, The Insider, and other exploitative shows who are still behind on the news, please remember that every medication that the police removed IS LEGAL and was legally obtained. Any prescriptions Heath had were for valid and for legitimate reasons. There was NO ALCOHOL in his system and NO ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE in his apartment.
Heath passed away yesterday, January 22, 2008, in his Soho apartment in NY. He had scheduled a massage, and when the masseuse arrived did not respond to the door. His maid entered his bedroom, and Heath was unresponsive in bed
Heath sometimes had trouble sleeping, and admitted recently in an interview to using a sleeping aids. This corresponds with the police statement that there was ONE bottle of sleeping pills on his nightstand. Police specifically stressed that while Heath did have some legitimate prescription medications, “pills were NOT strewn about the apartment.” as the media had previously reported. Heath was found as he had been sleeping, in bed, and the paramedics moved him to the floor to try resucitation. He was prounounced at 3:30 pm EST, US time.
January 23rd, 2008
Olsen spoke twice on phone to the masseuse who discovered the body, sources tell PEOPLE
Police say the death may have been drug-related and that “prescription-type drugs” were found near his body.
Ledger was found in the bedroom of his SoHo apartment around 3:30 p.m. by his housekeeper and a masseuse who had arrived for an appointment with the actor, police say.
Ledger was nude, lying on the floor curled up, at the foot of his bed. He did not respond when they shook him, and the housekeeper called 911. He was pronounced dead at 3:45 p.m. ET.
Authorities said they did not suspect foul play but that medication was found near the body.
“There were some drugs found around the body – prescription-type drugs,” a police spokesman tells PEOPLE. The spokesman says there were two bottles of prescription sleep aids, and that the prescriptions were made out to Ledger.
Despite initial reports that Ledger was subletting the apartment from Mary-Kate Olsen, reps for the actress denied that Olsen ever owned or lived in the apartment.
January 22nd 2008 6:28 PM
It wasn’t immediately clear if Ledger had committed suicide.
A housekeeper who went to let him know the massage therapist had arrived found him dead at 3:26 p.m.
January 23rd 2008 2:47
“He was found unconscious at the apartment and pronounced dead,” the New York Police Department said, adding that pills were found near the body.
The BBC’s Matthew Price in New York says the exact cause of death was still being investigated, but suicide has not been ruled out.
The housekeeper went to tell him the masseuse had arrived and found him dead on Tuesday afternoon.
housekeeper Teresa Solomon had arrived at approximately 12:30 p.m. EST to do household chores, entered the bedroom at about 1 p.m. to change a light bulb in the adjacent bathroom, and found Ledger face down on the bed, with a sheet pulled to his shoulders, and snoring. Masseuse Diana Wolozin arrived at approximately 2:45 p.m. to give Ledger a massage, and when he did not emerge by 3 p.m., called his cell phone and received no answer. Wolozin entered the bedroom, began to set up the massage table, and tried to wake the unresponsive Ledger. Wolozin called actress Mary-Kate Olsen, whose number was programmed in Ledger’s cell phone. She replied she would have a member of her security firm go to the apartment. After again attempting to rouse Ledger, Wolozin called Olsen again, and at 3:26 p.m. called 9-1-1. Medical workers moved Ledger to the floor, used a defibrillator and CPR, and pronounced Ledger dead at 3:36 p.m.
Police said they found prescription medication in the bathroom and that there were “no obvious signs” of suicide, nor did they suspect foul play.
Ledger was discovered naked in his bed by a housekeeper and a masseuse who had arrived for a regular appointment, a package of ”prescription-type” sleeping pills nearby. (In a New York Times interview last November, Ledger had complained of having difficulty sleeping due to stress, to the point where a double dose of Ambien would only buy him an hour of rest.) There were no illegal drugs in the apartment, chief police spokesman Paul J. Browne reported, no evidence of foul play, and no initial indication of suicide. Pending an autopsy, it was unclear at press time what caused his death and whether prescription medications played a role.
The Australian-born actor was found dead Tuesday by his housekeeper and masseuse – lying naked and face-down at the foot of his bed, police said.
Police on Wednesday said they found bottles of prescription sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication in his bedroom and in the bathroom; there were still pills in the bottles.
Earlier, police said the death was caused by a possible drug overdose and appeared to be accidental.
Ledger’s housekeeper and a massage therapist found the actor dead Tuesday, lying naked and face-down on his bed, police said.
There were six different types of prescription drugs in the room, including pills to treat insomnia and anxiety, and an antihistamine, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
A rolled-up $20 bill was found on the floor near the bed, but New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said lab tests found nothing to indicate the bill had been used to snort drugs. Police also said no illegal drugs were found in the apartment.
The law enforcement officials said three of the drugs were prescribed in Europe. Ledger had recently been filming in London.
Police said Ledger probably died between 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Tuesday. At 1 p.m., the housekeeper went into his bedroom to change a light bulb, saw him sleeping and heard him snoring
At 2:45 p.m., the massage therapist showed up for Ledger’s appointment, knocked on his door and got no answer. She later noticed Ledger was unconscious and called actress Mary-Kate Olsen, whose number was programmed into Ledger’s cell phone, to seek advice, police said
Olsen said she would send over her private security. In the ensuing moments, the massage therapist realized that Ledger might be dead, called Olsen again, and then called 911. Paramedics – and Olsen’s security people – arrived minutes later.
At a press conference NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly admitted that “no testing has been done for narcotics at this time” on the note, but it is something the police are looking into.
A source told CBS 2 that several drug packets containing an unknown substance had also been found but Kelly refused to elaborate on this, saying only, “Some of them were sleeping pills, in essence, and some other drugs there as well. … We are going to wait for the toxicology report.”
The official investigation was launched after a police spokesperson confirmed that presciption anxiety drugs Valim and Zoloft as well as sleeping medication Ambien were found in the vicinity of the actor’s body.
A housekeeper at Ledger’s New York City apartment made the shocking discovery of his body face down on a bed at 3.20pm local time on Tuesday afternoon.
Minutes earlier, the housekeeper had opened the door to a masseuse, who had an appointment with the actor.
The Hollywood website TMZ.com reported that Ledger was in cardiac arrest when emergency services arrived on the scene.
The actor’s body was moved to the floor but subsequent attempts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead at 3.35pm, at the scene.
Apparently, a masseuse showed up for an appointment and was led in by a housekeeper, who discovered Ledger’s body about 3:30 p.m. The police found pills near his naked body.
A massage therapist who discovered a lifeless Heath Ledger in his Manhattan apartment made her first call to actress Mary-Kate Olsen, according to an in-depth timeline police released Wednesday of the moments surrounding the Australian-born actor’s death.
According to The New York Times, New York City police officials said the massage therapist, Diana Wolozin, called Olsen, a friend of Ledger’s, twice before calling 911.
Police said Ledger probably died sometime between 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday of what authorities say may be an accidental drug overdose.
Authorities found six different types of prescription drugs in Ledger’s apartment, including pills to treat insomnia and anxiety, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Three of the drugs were prescribed in Europe.
Ledger’s housekeeper, Teresa Solomon, arrived at his apartment with her own key and let herself in. At 1 p.m., she went to his bedroom to change a light bulb, and saw Ledger sleeping naked, lying face down in the bed with the sheets pulled up to his shoulders, and heard him snoring, according to a report from The New York Times. She left the room without thinking anything was wrong.
At 2:45 p.m., Wolozin showed up for her appointment with Ledger, who didn’t answer when she knocked on his door. She then tried to call him on his cell phone, but again got no response. She went into the bedroom, set up her massage table and again tried to wake Ledger.
Wolozin told police that Ledger was cold to the touch, but she just assumed he was unconscious. She proceeded to grab his cell phone and call Olsen, whose number is programmed into the speed dial on the phone. Wolozin knew that the “Full House” star and Ledger were friends, and she asked Olsen for advice on what she should do next.
Olsen, who also lives in Manhattan but was in California at the time, responded by saying she would send over her private security guards to help deal with the situation. In the ensuing moments, Wolozin realized that the situation was serious and called Olsen again to say she was calling for help, reports The Times. Wolozin called 911 at 3:26 p.m.
The emergency operator provided Wolozin directions on how to do CPR, but it was too late.
Paramedics — and one of Olsen’s security guards — arrived at 3:33 p.m. Rescue workers then moved Ledger’s body to the floor and used a defibrillator and CPR. The actor was pronounced dead at 3:36 p.m., reports The Times.
On Tuesday, the 28-year-old leading man was found dead in a Manhattan apartment, possibly due to a drug overdose.
Ledger was discovered naked in bed, surrounded by prescription sleeping pills. A New York City police spokesperson said there was “no obvious sign of suicide.”
Ledger’s housekeeper made the find at about 3:30 p.m. ET, three and a half hours after the actor was last seen alive, police said.
Police confirmed another particular of the still-developing story: Namely, that the housekeeper had gone into the bedroom to alert Ledger that his masseuse had arrived for an afternoon appointment. The housekeeper and masseuse attempted CPR, but he was already dead.
911 was called around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon, and the body was taken away by the medical examiner 3 hours later.
At a press conference late Tuesday evening police confirmed that Ledger was found naked, face down in a bedroom in an apartment he was renting. He was found at 2:45 by his housekeeper and masseuse when the latter showed up for a scheduled appointment. Contrary to early reports, there were not pills strewn around, but there were pill bottles, including prescription sleeping medications.