Spotting Fake News: Why Was Mike Tyson Recently Spotted Using a Wheelchair and Cane to Get Around?

News articles perpetuating false narratives are rampant on the internet, so it is important for users to be able to recognize what news is true. Beloved boxer Mike Tyson has recently been spotted using a wheelchair and cane to get around, so what is the real reason for that? After locating two different articles, we can come to a conclusion of the truth using the SIFT method: Stop,  Investigate the Source, Find Trusted Coverage, and Trace Claims.

(Left Image): Mike Tyson being rolled in a wheelchair by person in vest while at the airport.
(Right Image): Mike Tyson taking selfie with a fan while seated in a wheelchair and holding a cane.
Mike Tyson, Age 56, Spotted in a Wheelchair at The Airport

False Claims

Article one comes from NewsPunch.com, and it claims Mike Tyson’s current condition is due to being fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Stop:

Before believing this article, it is important to not share it around before you fully trust the information, so it’s time to investigate the source.

Investigate the Source:

A quick scroll through the website this article was published on shows the viewer that it is a news outlet that is littered in conspiracies. It had flashy titles to grab attention with outrageous claims, and after checking several of these other articles, it becomes obvious that it is a news source with a conservative bias.

Find Trusted Coverage:

Upon googling “newspunch” a wikipedia article pops up, and this wikipedia article sites Newspunch.com as a fake news website notorious for pushing anti-vaccination hoaxes. I found trusted coverage on TheShadowLeauge.com about the true cause of Tyson’s condition, in short, Tyson’s is suffering from sciatica, not a COVID-19 vaccine, which is sited under “The Truth” section of this blog.

Trace Claims:

Throughout the article, there is no real source being sited that indicated Tyson’s condition is due to his vaccination status, and the only evidence they are pulling from, is that Tyson was reluctant to get vaccinated from a video clip 30 seconds long. It was from an interview catching up with Tyson from a couple years ago, it is in no way recent enough to be good enough proof for NewsPunch’s claims.

The Truth

When Tyson was spotted in a wheelchair, this was big news, so several other news sources reported that his condition was not due to a COVID-19 vaccine and that it was actually sciatica. Amongst these several news sources reporting on Tyson’s condition, I found TheShadowLeauge.com’s article on the boxers health.

Stop:

Although I initially trusted this source, it must be treated like an untrustworthy source first and foremost to double check that it is actually reliable. So just as before for the previous article, it is important to stop before spreading this information.

Investigate the Source:

There were many sources confirming this information, but I chose to use TheShadowLeauge.com’s article, because it is exclusively a sports update website. There are no typical news biases to deal with on this website as it is primarily news updates, so I chose this over other news sources to avoid any bias. I found no problematic reports of hoaxes or conspiracies.

Find Trusted Coverage:

This website, like many others, sited Tyson’s sciatica as the primary reason as to why he was having issues walking, and by researching what causes this issue on a reliable medical source and by looking through actual long-term side effects caused by the COVID-19 vaccine on the CDC’s website, it is evident that there is no correlation between Mike Tyson being vaccinated and his back pain.

Trace Claims:

According to the CDC, there have been listings of nerve damage as a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine, but according to Mayo Clinic, sciatica is caused by bone spurs and other spinal problems which pinch nerves, and bone spurs have never been listed as a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine. Finally, In TheShadowleauge.com‘s article, they use a video clip of Mike Tyson explaining it himself as to why he was in the wheelchair, which Newspunch.com, did not do. This video clip, unlike NewsPunch’s was recent.

What is the Importance of “Openness” and “Accessibility” on the Internet?

The internet is a platform that anybody with a cellphone or a computer can access, so it is vital that all users are able to have an equally good experience, especially as we move further into the digital world.

Hands holding a tablet while scrolling through images with a computer in the background.
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Openness

Why?

Openness is an important part of the internet because it’s a way for users of different backgrounds to share their knowledge on whatever niche subjects they have a lot of information on. Another user with no knowledge on a certain topic may need quick access for research or personal purposes, so by having openness on the internet, there is an infinite surplus of information at any users fingertips.

How?

A great way to create open content is by utilizing a media based sharing website/application that is easy to get on to and use. A great example that has millions of visitors every day is YouTube, which is a free video content creation website that can be visited even without an account. It has all kinds of informational content on it that can be easily located with just a few key search terms in the search bar.

Accessibility

Why?

Accessible content is increasingly important as more and more diverse users gain access to the internet. Many people have issues that affect certain abilities that makes them unable to enjoy content the same as other people, such as: visual, auditory, and physical impairments, alongside many learning disabilities. It is morally correct to make content for people no matter what problems they may have, but regardless of that, typically when businesses make their content more user-friendly, its beneficial for everyone.

How?

There are a couple of tools to keep in mind when making a website more accessible, such as closed captions on videos, subtitles on TV shows and movies, text to speech applications for websites, and alternative text on images.

Jenell

Hi, my names Jenell and I’m a Studio Art major in my junior year. I haven’t declared a minor yet, however I do intend on declaring a Digital Studies minor soon. I love working in digital mediums when it comes to my art, so I want to see if I can learn new ways to make and promote my art in digital spaces.

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