News Outlets Publish Fake Photo of Shark Swimming in Puerto Rico Hurricane Irene Floodwaters

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NOT A SHARK IN THE STREETS: The Wash Post explained the above fake photo adds in a 2005 image of a shark to a flooded street. (Credit: WashPost, screenshot)

Fake photos from Hurricane Irene are already surfacing, the Washington Post reported.

A Miami TV news station, Channel 7, along with blogs and Reddit, have posted “a photo of a shark swimming down a Puerto Rico street flooded by Hurricane Irene,” according to the Post.

But, the shark originates from a 2005 Africa Geographic, the Post explained.

Blog Neatorama has removed its fake image already and the Post called on Channel 7 to follow suit.  Blog the Hairpin updated its post which re-published the Channel 7 segment, simply saying “Faaake.”

Both San Diego Channel 6 and the Miami Herald  appear to have reported on the story, but the link from a Google search now goes to an Error page.

From a Google search, it’s clear San Diego 6 reported on the photo with the headline “Shark sighting in Puerto Rico due to Irene.”

Through a Google cache, StinkyJournalism could view the Aug. 25 Miami Herald’s post by Marc Caputo, which featured the fake shark photo and noted the photo was found via Twitter.  Caputo noted “perhaps it’s a hoax.”

iMediaEthics is writing to San Diego Channel 6 and the Miami Herald to ask if either of the two will be posting an update or notice to readers to disclose the photo fakery.

Mobile technology blog Mobiledia noted that Twitter hosted “several fake photos” of potential post-Irene damage in New York, “including doctored photos of a flooded East River and a submerged Times Square subway station.”

Weather events seem to trigger photo forgery, iMediaEthics notes. Last September,we wrote when Time magazine published a fake photo from Twitter purporting to be from the tornado warning affecting New York City in Sept. 2010.  Time later corrected its blog to disclose the photo was from a 1976 tornado.

We also wrote in May of this year after Ohio man Justin Strunk faked a photo of a Cincinnati mall next to a tornado.  Strunk, who was quoted as saying he did the photo faking for a laugh, noted he never tried to make the photo public “for any malicious reasons.” Nonetheless, the photos triggered a fire department investigation and Strunk may have violated an Ohio law prohibiting “inducing panic.”

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News Outlets Publish Fake Photo of Shark Swimming in Puerto Rico Hurricane Irene Floodwaters

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