Neil Armstrong's death remembered, repeated

Neil Armstrong is dead today. He was also dead a year ago.

But somehow, this ABC obituary for the astronaut — dated August 25, 2012 — began circulating heavily on social media Monday night into Tuesday morning. That’s August 26 and 27, 2013.

The Deseret News reports people started sharing that ABC article on Twitter — many along with the phrase “RIP Neil Armstrong” — which had the astronaut’s name trending.

As social media streams blew up, other outlets’ year-old articles began to resurface on the sharing circuit — apparently through people who don’t check timestamps on articles. Geekosystem writer Glen Tickle doesn’t know why it happened, but he has a theory.

“My best guess for why people seem to think Armstrong died more recently than he actually did is that people are sharing the video NASA released to mark the one-year anniversary of his death, but leaving off the fact that it’s the anniversary.”

Last Friday, NASA released that video tribute to Armstrong on YouTube — showing the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, which has been famously accompanied by the astronaut’s historic “One Small Step” speech.

After everyone started to realize Neil Armstrong was, in fact, dead — and had been so for a year — The Guardian did its journalistic duty by publishing this “who’s alive and who’s dead?” quiz.

Meanwhile, media in Armstrong’s hometown of Cincinnati got it right. They even featured a local story relevant to the anniversary of the astronaut’s death.

“The Cincinnati resident died a year ago, and over the weekend, his family dedicated this 300-pound granite stone at the Cincinnati Observatory Center.”  (Via WXIX)

The stone reads, “By reaching for the stars, you might just land on the moon.” (Via The Cincinnati Enquirer)

So, before you launch a year-old news story via social media, a systems check might be in order.

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