A aelf-styled satire website reported last week that Undertaker, 48-year-old Mark Callaway, had found dead in his Houston home. Not surprisingly, people who had never heard of the website, Empire Sports, and its blurred lines between satire and real news took the report at face value, and reacted with understandable shock.
Reading the report, it’s hard to see why it wasn’t obvious that the report wasn’t at worst a poor attempt at humor. The fake news story quoted ‘Taker’s wife, Michelle McCool, saying that she was going to their bedroom to check on him because she was “in the mood,” and that when she found him unresponsive, she “tried shaking him and shoving him and even hitting him across the back with a folding chair.”
Nothing funny there, but clearly not anything you’d see in an actual news report quoting a recently widowed wife.
Nonetheless, the story took on a life of its own on social media, with thousands of Facebook and Twitter shares from stunned fans, who are now understandably upset at being duped, and undoubtedly are even more upset that they were duped by something so amateurish.