Hoaxes & Rumors

Fake Report: Whales Did Not Attack a Japanese Whaling Crew

Fake Report: Whales Did Not Attack a Japanese Whaling Crew

A story claims that a Japanese whaling crew was attacked by a school of killer whales, leading to 16 deaths and 12 injuries. Is this real or fake?

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The story is fake.

Let’s take a look at the story, the photo, and the origin of the report.

The Story

The report was published by World News Daily Report, a self-described fake news website. In the fictional report, we read that a school of killer whales attacked a Japanese whaling crew, killing 16 and injuring 12. The official-sounding story contains quotes from officials and describes the horror of the “gruesome scene.”

Credit: Robert Pittman - NOAA. Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Robert Pittman – NOAA. Wikimedia Commons

A snippet from the story saw heavy sharing online, which read, “A Japanese whaling crew has fallen victim to a dramatic full on assault by a school of killer whales, killing no less then 16 crew members and injuring 12, has reported the Japanese Government this morning.”

The report was highly shared over social media, and some websites were quick to jump on the story, reporting it as a factual event. The International Business Times reported it as a true story, for example, but later had to issue a retraction.

World News Daily Report

Although the website’s disclaimer refers to it as a “political satire web publication,” and that all articles are “presumably fake news,” it is difficult to find any semblance of satire within this fake story.

2014 has seen a significant rise in fake news websites which post outlandish stories in the name of satire. World News Daily Report has been responsible for a few viral stories this year, including one about a 200 million year old dinosaur egg hatching in Berlin.

The Photo

The photo used in the fake whaling story dates from a 2008 story and shows an Australian customs boat beside a Japanese whaling vessel, the Nisshin Maru. The fake World News Daily Report story used the name of this boat, presumably to lend credibility to the fake report.

Bottom Line

The report that a school of killer whales killed and injured a Japanese whaling crew is false. It was published by the fake news website World News Daily Report.

Source: Japanese Whaling Crew Eaten Alive By Killer Whales, 16 dead (World News Daily Report, July 28, 2014)

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