Fake News: Florida Swimmer Was NOT Partially Emasculated After Taunting Baby Shark With His Penis

Hoax Alert

  • by: Ryan Cooper

Did a Florida swimmer become partially emasculated after taunting a baby shark with his penis? No, that's not true: The story was fabricated by a Canadian entertainment website that publishes fictional stories about bizarre crimes, weird sexual acts, and other made-up events. The photo accompanying the story was lifted from an article about a real shark attack.

The story originated from an article published by World News Daily Report on December 19, 2019, titled "Florida swimmer partially emasculated after taunting baby shark with his penis" (archived here). It opened:

A Florida man is being hospitalized at St. Mary's Medical Center after being partially emasculated from a severe shark bite.

John H. Bishop, 48, was snorkeling off the coast of West Palm Beach with family and friends when he noticed a small nurse shark swimming nearby.

Bishop apparently heavily intoxicated under the influence of alcohol and believing that nurse sharks posed no threat to humans started dangling his genitals in front of the carnivorous creature.

Screenshot of https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/florida-swimmer-partially-emasculated-after-taunting-baby-shark-with-his-penis/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Florida swimmer partially emasculated after taunting baby shark with his penis

A Florida man is being hospitalized at St. Mary's Medical Center after being partially emasculated from a severe shark bite. John H. Bishop, 48, was snorkeling off the coast of West Palm Beach with family and friends when he noticed a small nurse shark swimming nearby.

The story is a work of satire and not meant to be taken seriously. The article said the man involved in the incident is named John H. Bishop, though a "reverse image search" revealed the same photo was featured in a Daily Mail story from September 27, 2017. In that story, the man is identified as Ervin Maccarty. According to the newspaper, he was swimming off the coast of Marathon, Florida, when a small shark bit his stomach and refused to let go. He survived the incident.

World News Daily Report is a humor website specialized in posting hoaxes and made-up stories. The disclaimer on the website is pretty clear about that even though users 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:

factsdontmatter3.png

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 site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often, their stories feature an image showing a random mugshot found in a gallery on the Internet or 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 various fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalists 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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  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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