Just The Way He Wasn't: NBC Screws Up Obituary of Billy Joel's Producer

Here's one example for why network newscasts should have a corrections feature. On Saturday night, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt announced the death of legendary pop music producer Phil Ramone.

He announced he was 72, and his birth year on screen said 1941. They were only wrong by seven years...

LESTER HOLT: Legendary music producer Phil Ramone has died....In 1979, “Just the Way You Are” earned Ramone and Billy Joel the Grammy for Record of the Year. Ramone won a total of 14 Grammys and 33 nominations.... Phil Ramone died this morning from complications from an aortic aneurysm. He was 72.

The New York Times obituary was headlined “Phil Ramone, Producer for Music’s Biggest Stars, Dies at 79.” Ben Sisario explained NBC’s goof: “Though it was widely reported that he was 72, public records and his family confirm that he was born Jan. 5, 1934.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis