If the story of a 3,000-pound great white shark being caught in the Great Lakes comes as a confusing and bizarre surprise, there’s a good reason for that – it didn’t actually happen.
The story originated from the World News Daily Report, a fake and satirical news site, on June 20, 2016. It was then covered by several other sites that either thought it was real or continued the trend of pushing a fake story as truth.
The story claimed that fisherman John O’Keefe pulled the monster great white shark from the waters of Lake Michigan.
“We reeled in the beast for a good 4-5 hours before we finally shot it and wounded it to the head” explains O’Keefe, a tourist from Toronto.
“Luckily, I had my rifle in hand, or else this prize fish would’ve never been caught” claims his friend, a long-time resident of Chicago, Allan Brooks.
The site went on to say that the shark explained a number of disappearances that had occurred on the lake.
“I’ve had my load of visitors disappearing mysteriously over the years, but I was told not to say anything about it. People would check in, but they wouldn’t check out,” said Robert Helm, who owns a local campground. “Nobody ever believed me anyway and it would’ve scared away the tourists.”
“It would’ve been bad for business in town.”
This great white story is just another example of how a few seconds of research into a source can save other news sites from any headaches down the road.