Celebrity Deaths: A Fake News Playground
In February 2015, Cronica MX, a Mexican newspaper company, stated that the former Chicago Bull’s point guard, Michael Jordan, “was found dead while in his sleep in his residence in North Carolina” (Cronica MX). The Mexican newspaper company continued by stating that Yvette Prieto, wife of Michael Jordan, was interviewed, where she mourned the death of her husband.
To further validate the claims, the company showed an apparent breaking news segment where Rich Eisen, a journalist for the NFL Network, is giving his condolences and farewells to the former basketball superstar.
With both of that stated by Cronica MX, it is no wonder as to why they received a spike in attention following this tragic announcement. Unfortunately enough for the Mexican company, the attention seeking ploy would not last long, as these claims were quickly shutdown. With that said, it should come as no surprise that, if given the proper research, information such as this would not spread nearly as fast, lessening its impact as a whole.
Following a quick online search, it became clear that this article was false, with Snopes and IBTimes being the two resources used to prove so. In the article published by Snopes, David Mikkelson, author of the aforementioned article, explains how the only source of verification on Cronica MX’s behalf, that being Rich Eisen’s heartfelt farewell, was completely misleading and false. In reality, the clip was Eisen giving his goodbye’s to, “fellow ESPN anchor, Stuart Scott” (Mikkelson).
IBTimes, on the other hand, debunked this claim by debunking to a more recent death hoax, both of which being about the former basketball superstar. In the IBTimes article, written by Ankita Mehta, the author explains the more recent death hoaxes was related to a certain kind of Facebook scam. According to the article, “The fake death report is just a Facebook scam that tricks social media users to click on a spam website” (Mehta). The author continues by stating that, “The latest death hoax is nothing but a revamped version of the old fake reports that circulated in November 2015” (Mehta). This is directly referring to the aforementioned death hoax that came from Cronica MX.
Michael Jordan is just one of many celebrities that has face claims of passing away in order to bring in unknowing viewers. It is seemingly a right of passage as a celebrity to have to deal with such allegations, as they are so common. With that said, regardless of how common these false claims come up, it can always be easily refuted by a quick search. Not only would there be articles disproving the death hoax, there would be an a clear lack of sources proving the claim as well. The death of a popular figure is, normally, all over the media, if no major source reported on the death, it is likely false.
Social media allows the general public to speak their mind freely, receive information quicker, connect with friends and family, and so on. It provides much good in those ways, however certain risk factors, such as receiving fake news, means people should take information with a gain of salt, further research should done if something does not seem fully accurate or believable.
Mehta, Ankita. “Michael Jordan Death Hoax: Former NBA Player Is Not Dead; Here’s Why the Fake Reports Went Viral.” IBTimes, 24 Sept. 2016, https://www.ibtimes.co.in/michael-jordan-death-hoax-former-nba-player-not-dead-heres-why-fake-reports-went-viral-695023.
Mikkelson, David. “Michael Jordan Death Hoax.” Snopes.com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/michael-jordan-death-hoax/.