On 20 June 2016, the web site World News Daily Report (WNDR) published an article reporting that a fisherman made an astounding catch, pulling a a 3,000-lb. great white shark out of the waters of Lake Michigan:
The capture of a 3,000-pound great white shark in Lake Michigan yesterday could explain the disappearance of hundreds of missing people in the region in the last decade, has confirmed the U.S. Coast Guard this morning.
John O’Keefe, a Canadian tourist, captured the 3,000-pound beast while fishing for sturgeon in Michigan Lake.
“We reeled in the beast for a good 4-5 hours before we finally shot it and wounded it to the head” explains the Toronto resident on vacation.
“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 article also suggested that the Great Lakes shark was suspected in a number of unexplained disappearances, incidents that supposedly went unreported by the media because they might adversely impact tourism:
Authorities suspect that more than a hundred people reported missing in the area in the last decade may have fallen under the fangs of the gigantic beast, several local residents even suspecting its presence for a long time.
“I’ve owned this campground for the past seventeen years” explains local entrepreneur, Robert Helm.
“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,” he recalls. “Nobody ever believed me anyway and it would’ve scared away the tourists,” he told local reporters.
“It would’ve been bad for business in town” he adds, visibly relieved since the capture of the large creature.
However, this report was nothing more than another fabricated story from a fake news web site.
Great white sharks cannot swim in freshwater lakes, and the image used by World News Daily Report to illustrate their fabrication dates to at least 2013 (and thus is clearly unconnected to any shark capture occurring in June 2016).
World News Daily Report creates fake, outlandish stories published alongside unrelated photographs, racking up ad revenue via social media shares. The site’s disclaimer clearly states that WNDR‘s articles are “satirical” and “fictional”:
WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website — even those based on real people — are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.