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Associated Press

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The AP Prepares for the Worst

Last week, soon after Britney Spears was released from the hospital, where she had been admitted after her umpteenth incident of craziness, the Associated Press assistant bureau chief in Los Angeles sent out a memo to staff: “Now and for the foreseeable future, virtually everything involving Britney is a big deal,” it said. And you know what would be the biggest deal of all for the AP? If she died. Just now, Us Weekly reported that the news service has written a premature obituary for Britney, in the same way that they do for 70-year-old politicians and public figures who have announced they have cancer. “I think one would agree that Britney seems at risk right now,” AP entertainment editor Jesse Washington told the magazine. “Of course, we would never wish any type of misfortune on anybody and hope that we would never have to use it until 50 years from now … but if something were to happen, we would have to be prepared.” For us, this raises a lot of questions. Not only of propriety — Britney is 26! — but about what this obituary says. Do they mention "Hit Me Baby One More Time"? Is Crossroads name-checked? Who else has one? (Lindsay? Nicole?) And how about how Us Weekly is reporting news, and the Associated Press is acting like a tabloid? We have not yet been able to get in touch with Washington, but we eagerly await his answers to our questions. Associated Press Has Written Britney Spears Obituary [Us Weekly] Related: A.P. Says It Wants To Know Everything About Britney Spears [NYT]