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Monday, May 16, 2005

Brooke Greenberg Update 2

Rick Moran received a vague email this morning regarding the Brooke Greenberg story that was pulled shortly after being published. The email said...

Good morning,

Due to certain agreements, we are unable to provide additional information on this story. It was not a hoax.

Make what you want from that response. It does seem increasingly likely that the story is true but the reasons for the story being pulled are still not clear.

It could have been a contractual issue with Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc., who are responsible for publishing the story to the news sites that carried it, but why haven't any other news agencies taken up the story. Maybe they have tried. The extra attention may have been a reason but that seems unlikely as they this is not the first time that they have been featured on the news and I can't see how removing a story would reduce the attention that they are getting.

Any ideas?

Update (17/05/05)
: Here's another email that someone received.


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Ryan Olsen

So, she lives in the Baltimore. The news station that originally covered the story is WBAL. I dont know why its doing that though.

John Ford


In mentally running through possible scenarios for what kind of "agreement" WBAL is referring to, I can only come up with a few. They all involve some sort of lapse of journalistic ethics or conflict of interest.



I have another idea. Hoping not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, could it be the government has suddenly show an interest in this young person who appears to have some sort of secrets to longevity within her DNA? Or at the very least, some incredible ability to beat the odds even when near death?
I too was intrigued by the sudden disappearance of the story later in the same day that it appeared. I hate that I can't see the video again! I emailed the station Saturday afternoon and got this response:

Good morning,

Due to certain agreements, we are unable to provide additional information
on this story. There is no retraction.

Thanks for writing!


We are talking about a real child with a family who probably are sick to death of the publicity that came with the story. Perhaps they agreed to a one-time-only update and the station pulled the story to discourage the morbidly curious from tracking them down.


I too got an email response from my local nbc channel after I emailed asking where the article about Brooke Greenberg had gone. This is the reply:

"Thanks for writing in. The originating station inadvertently shared the article. It was not meant for syndication. I apologize for the inconvenience. Take care, and thanks for watching and surfing NBC 5."

Makes you wonder if someone is covering something up.


I've worked in the entertainment industry with licencing contracts for copyrighted material. I may be able to shed a little light here.

Like a documentary film, news features are copyrighted. The news itself can NOT be copyrighted, but the photographs, video footage, and the written story are copyrighted (kind of like a mini-documentary). Also like documentary films, there are all sorts of details in the distribution agreement -- some things are only meant to be shown in a limited territory.

Media outlets licence the stories (that's why you see newspaper stories that are credited "Reprinted courtesy of AP"). The photos and video footage taken in the family's home (private property) would also require a video release and photo release by the family, allowing the news station to show the footage and the images to the public.

Big media networks will release big sotreis to all their smaller network affiliates. But there can be licencing snags going the other way. If one of the smaller affiliates did a story about Brooke and the family allowed a video to be shot with restricted broadcast provisions (say they signed a release that said the story could only appear on the local TV news channel) and then the parent media company mistakenly released it to ALL their affiliates... Oops! They are violating the terms of the agreement they had with Brooke's family.

Or it's possible that the reporter who wrote the story only wrote it for the one local news station and the affiliates did not have a licence to run the story, so the reporter was getting cheated. Or the producers of the featurette did not have a distribution agreement with the network to release it nationally. Or what have you.

So that explains brymj's message from the local NBC affiliate: The article was not intended for widespread distribution. They probably can't provide any more detail than that simply because they don't necessarily have the details. They were just told by the big bosses that it was not supposed to be a national release, please remove it from the archives.

For example, I created a contract that allowed a rock and roll song to be used in a cola commercial that was ONLY supposed broadcast in Belgium. If the cola company broadcast the commercial in France, even by accident, we could threaten to sue and they would take the commercial off the air.

This is likely what happened. The story was intended for a local news station to be broadcast only in a small territory (like ONLY Baltimore or ONLY Maryland) and due to bad communication, it got released nationally. Oops!

So no cover-up, just a silly contract snafu.

David Baker

I had not heard of Brooke Greenberg until last night in a conversation with my father. My father is retired, but drives a school bus part time in Baltimore, MD where he has lived all his life. He mentioned that on the bus route he drove either last school year or the year before (I forget which) he had picked up a little girl named Brooke Greenberg who was about 11 or 12, but physically and mentally appeared to be only about 2 years old. He said she had a rare disorder which to date has not been diagnosed. The route he drove was dedicated to children in special education.

Out of curiosity, I Googled the name this morning and came across a variety of hits all of which seemed to be concerning whether this child was some kind of myth. My father is not very internet savvy and I have always found him to be pretty immune to hoaxes. That coupled with the fact that he saw this girl almost everyday and assisted in getting her on and off the bus every day leads me to believe quite completely that this child is no myth.

Becky Nelson

Below is the link for an MSN video posted to on Tuesday, October 25, 2005. Very interesting, and evidently true. News


Brooke Greenberg is definitely NOT a hoax. I know the family well and Brooke's sister is one of my daughter's best friends and former classmate. The story is 100% true so please have respect for the family who have had to deal with this for thirteen years now. They are a wonderful family and I'm sick of these stupid people who speak out without any facts or concern for the people involved!! PLEASE PASS THIS ON!!!!

And for G-ds sake people GET A LIFE!!!

Misty Noon

No, this is not a hoax. I saw a TLC documentary about Brooke -- it was made when she was seven years old.

Her family is amazing -- her younger sisters warm and caring, and her parents are, of course, the most admirable people. I was happy to see, toward the end of the documentary, how much Brooke enjoyed school, and how she learned to use the special walker to scoot around.

I commend Brooke's family. The world is blessed to have them all in it!


Just passing through, I thought I'd let you guys know that MSNBC has a video, here is the link:
If that doesn't work try searching for the video under "Baby Frozen in Time".

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