Isabella Lujan/Courier An illustration of TMZ being the first to report Kim Jong-Un’s rumored death. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
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2020 has been TMZ’s year when it comes to breaking news. Unfortunately, it’s not the good kind as one of their biggest stories of this year has been proven false.

They were the first to report on the tragic helicopter crash that led to the sudden death of nine individuals, including Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his 14 year old daughter, Gigi, which led to TMZ catching flack for their hasty publishing of the piece.   

The tabloid agency broke news again on Mar. 25, when they reported a breaking news piece on Kim Jong-Un’s supposed death after a botched heart surgery, causing him to be absent in the public eye for three weeks.

The article is littered with nothing but speculation and second hand sourcing. The article left readers with more questions than answers. When dealing with political stories that rotate around a topic as serious as a world leader’s supposed death, the language should reflect the gravity of the situation, which was sorely lacking in the article. 

There’s a lack of respect and control embedded within the article. The article reads like a text message with casual language. They even call Kim “the guy” at one point when describing his condition.TMZ has written multiple follow up articles, all of which gives the audience almost nothing. No reliable sourcing, no information, no actual facts. 

In general, TMZ is not known as a news company. The LA based tabloid company tetters on the edges of gossip and celebrity news, and it’s safe to say that the majority of the audience comes for the latest scoop on whatever celebrity. TMZ isn’t the first place people think of when thinking of a newspaper, and hardly anyone goes to them for their political pieces. When one thinks of TMZ, they expect tabloid pieces on celebrities and online trends.

TMZ and social media leech off each other, with the majority of sourcing in their articles coming from the internet.  Worse yet, Twitter will run off with whatever TMZ publishes, regardless of its veracity.

As of May 1, photos of Kim have proved he is alive. A Politico article reported the dictator has not had any sort of heart surgery, which cites that he had been spotted attending the completion of a fertilizer factory near Pyongyang.

Kim’s brief disappearance is still unexplainable. While it is known he is alive, and supposedly well, the general public is still left confused about his prolonged absence.

TMZ should stick to what they know, and leave the political reporting to the pros.

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