In case you missed, a student-run news site, thought that it had done all the necessary legwork to print its exclusive that Joe Paterno had died on Saturday night. Well, at that point the 85-year-old former coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions was still holding on. Huge mistake.

Paterno did end up dying on Sunday, a story that saw itself eclipsed a bit by the round of bad reporting that had preceded it. That is, the errant report didn’t stay limited to the collegiate site; it traveled via a modern and superhuman force. Web aggregation, that is. picked it up, as did the Huffington Post. Which is like planting a megaphone in the middle of Nebraska with a reach of 2,000 miles. Everyone thought that Joe Pa had died Saturday night, up until social media started correcting the problem.

As I argued yesterday, the imperative of aggregation will help to perpetuate these sorts of mistakes. The pathetic part of the whole dance — aside from the mistakes that set off the ripples — is the way that everyone ends up having to explain themselves. Well, we went off of so-and-so’s report. And we went off this-and-that’s report.

Also: Translations and dissections of Newt Gingrich’s history-making moment against John King on Thursday night.


●I’d long thought that the 1986 Giants kicked off the Ga­tor­ade shower. This video says otherwise: It was the Bears from the year before:

●Newt Gingrich said the other night that the elite media’s relentless negativity made it hard for the country to field good candidates for political office. Could that dynamic rest behind Oprah’s firm refusal to ever run for the highest office in the land?

●How did Esquire revive itself? By, like, dumping its old, narrative-loving staffers, and embracing aggregation and social media? Not exactly: It kept the people that had made it great, says the New York Times’s David Carr.

Esquire is not dying — it is killing it. In 2011, a year when the magazine industry was flat to down a bit, Esquire was up 13.5 percent in ad pages from the previous year. This at a time when GQ was down 6.3 percent in advertising pages and Details was down more than 10 percent, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. David Carey, the chief of Hearst Magazines, said that the private company did not discuss profits, but added: “Relative to our other 20 businesses, Esquire was No. 1 in year-over-year performance. David [Granger] has done an amazing job.”

●In an interview on ABC, Rick Santorum demonstrates how you declare that someone is your friend, then proceed to trash him. It makes for excellent political TV.

●Howard Kurtz to New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane: “Has the media coverage of you and the column made you think at all that maybe the press doesn’t always get it right when writing about its own?” That “column” being the one for which Brisbane got hammered, the one in which he asked whether the New York Times should be a “truth vigilante,” the one that critics deemed moronic.