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Headline News Nearly Reported Bush Dead

January 8, 1992

ATLANTA (AP) _ A caller identifying himself as President Bush’s physician told CNN on Wednesday the president had died, and CNN Headline News was about to report it when editors realized it was a hoax.

Anchor Don Harrison was beginning to read the report on the air at 9:45 a.m. EST during coverage of Bush’s collapse in Japan, when he was alerted by another staffer, CNN spokesman Steve Haworth said. Headline News is a sister station of Atlanta-based Cable News Network and features condensed versions of CNN’s reports.

″This just in to CNN Headline News,″ Harrison said, according to a transcript. ″And we say right off the bat, we have not confirmed this through any other source.″

At that point a voice off camera says, ″No. Stop.″

″We are now getting a correction,″ Harrison said. ″We will not give you that story; it was regarding some rather tragic news involving President Bush. But updating that story, President Bush is reported resting comfortably....″

Bush collapsed at a state dinner in Tokyo on Wednesday, and was diagnosed as having stomach flu.

Senior staffers decided ″through the editorial process″ that the tip was hoax within moments of receiving it, Haworth said. But Harrison was handed the item anyway. Haworth said the Secret Service has been notified.

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