Did a man named Jamal Miller wake up from a coma forget who he was and could he only speak ancient Hebrew after presumably being assaulted in Los Angeles? No, that's not true: the story was made up in 2015 by a Canadian entertainment website that makes a living by publishing fictional stories often involving weird crimes, bizarre sex acts or strange accidents. It went viral again in 2019 for some reason.
The story originated from an article published by World News Daily Report on September 10, 2015 titled "Amnesiac Man Wakes from Coma Speaking Only Ancient Hebrew" (archived here) which opened:
Los Angeles, CA | A 53-year old man who spent six days in the coma after presumably being assaulted in August, still has no memory of his former life and can only speak in ancient Hebrew.
The man was found unconscious in a California motel on August 9. He had with him a duffel bag of exercise clothes, a backpack and tennis rackets.
He carried a California identification card and a Social Security card, both identifying him as Jamal Miller.
When he woke up in the Cedars-Sinai hospital days later, he had no memory of his past and could only speak in an unknown language.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Amnesiac Man Wakes from Coma Speaking Only Ancient Hebrew
Los Angeles, CA | A 53-year old man who spent six days in the coma after presumably being assaulted in August, still has no memory of his former life and can only speak in ancient Hebrew. The man was found unconscious in a California motel on August 9. He had with him a duffel bag of exercise cloth
The man in question is not even from near Los Angeles. He was the subject of a heartwarming story that happened in New York City in 2013:
Blind Man Can Keep Hero Dog That Saved Him
A blind man who was expecting to soon have to part with the guide dog that saved him and stayed by his side after the man fell onto New York City subway tracks gets to keep his loyal dog after all, thanks to several anonymous donors.
The website World News Daily Report is a humor website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:
World News Daily Report assumes 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 person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.
On March 20, 2019 the site added a new header that included the slogan "Where facts don't matter" to make it clearer to casual visitors the published content is fictional:
The site often uses images stolen without attribution from real news websites, sometimes showing real people who have nothing to do with the story, for example here:
Woman Says Newborn Photo Stolen for Satirical Fake News Story
It is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the satirical Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often their stories feature an image showing a random crazy mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.
Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes worldnewsdailyreport.com as:
A website that publishes hoaxes and made-up stories that are often widely shared and mistaken for news.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
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- Fake News: Mermaid Enthusiast NOT Accidentally Harpooned to Death By Local Fishermen in Philippines
- Fake News: American Tourist NOT Arrested in Saudi Arabia For Refusing To Trade Wife to Prince For 45 Camels
- Fake News: Man on Drugs Did NOT Break Into Pet Shop And Eat 10 Lbs of Dog Food