A comment on the Drudge Retort beautifully captures the mood tonight as the world's broadcast media hovers uncomfortably between life and death:
This just in. The pope is not dead.
We will be reporting that the pope is not dead until he is dead, then of course, we will remove the "not" so that we will say the "pope is dead."
Then we will inundate you with slick already produced stories about his life, retrospectives, montages, just as soon as we can say he is dead. There will be lots of shots of St. Peter's basilica, church bells, with background music of Gregorian chants. We have interns working the thesauri around the clock looking for synonyms for somber. And we will be up all night practicing that serious, thoughful, slightly saddened look.
Hold on. Hold on.
No, still not dead.
After falsely reporting the pope's death at 1:23 p.m., Fox News anchorman Shepard Smith attempted to recover with his own somber, slightly saddened reflection:
You must prepare for all happenings, all major happenings on the planet and this is one for which we have planned. I'm sure the Vatican is dealing with things they could never have thought of just as I'm dealing with never having to think of a young producer screaming 'the pope has died, the pope has died.' Our technology, we certainly get ahead of ourselves sometimes.