Death hoax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Twice newspapers falsely reported Mark Twain died

A death hoax is a false report of someone's death.[1][2]

In some cases, it might be because the person has faked their own death on purpose. In some cases they are mistakes while in most cases, they are intentional. Hoaxes are designed to play on other people's emotions.[3] Sometimes, a death hoax is designed to be a practical joke; however, most are to give the person starting the rumor a sense of power over their victims.[3]

There are often consequences when the person who started the hoax is discovered.[3] The news media has to be especially careful of hoaxes, including death hoaxes.[4] While some people will believe anything, most people resent being tricked.[4] However, it depends on how the story is handled: For example, a death hoax ran in Canadian papers about a hard-drinking, hard-swearing Carcross Parrot who had just died; most forgave the writers since the story was published on April Fools' Day.[4]

Mark Twain is one of the most famous people to be the subject of a death hoax.[5] In his case, the newspapers were just careless. This is when he uttered his famous quote, "The report of my death was an exaggeration."[5] It has often been misquoted as "reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated".[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Hippo eats dwarf: a field guide to hoaxes and other B.S.", by Alex Boese, 2006, ISBN 0-15-603083-7 , pp. 261, 262
  2. "Ordinary reactions to extraordinary events", by Ray Broadus Browne, Arthur G. Neal, 2001, ISBN 0-87972-834-5, chapter "Dead or Alive", pp. 21-42
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Pamela B Rutledge (1 March 2012). "#RIP Twitter Celebrity Death Hoaxes". Psychology Today. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Nick Russell, Morals and the Media: Ethics in Canadian Journalism (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1994), pp. 92–03
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kathy Benjamin. "11 People Who Lived to Read Their Own Obituaries". Mental Floss. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  6. "Misquotation: "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated"". Oxford Academic. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2015.