Long-Dead Reporter Writes Gerald Ford's Obit

As Drudge so cruelly notes, Washington Post obituary writer J.Y. Smith died nearly a year before he reported on Gerald Ford's tragic death in today's paper. How did Joe Smith do it? Did he return from Beyond the Grave, possibly to help the ghost of James Brown in killing the 93-year-old ex-prez?

Probably, but this is also another reminder that obits are waiting on pretty much every public figure -- especially anyone older than 50. Some papers have writers who specialize in summing up a famous life in 12 inches of newsprint. Others keep a file directory of pre-written obits and assign some hapless copy editor to update the things now and then.

For somebody like Reagan, who conveniently didn't do anything at all for the last 15 years of his life, newspaper chains had the luxury of producing elaborate ready-to-print Special Section Tributes -- which greatly amused bloggers who found the inserts on public websites long before the Gipper officially died. In other words, it's like this Dana Carvey/Tom Brokaw skit happened in real life!


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