And the winner is…The New York Daily News for the headline, Australian man fends off Great White with oar, gets two shark teeth as souvenir. The headline accompanied the story mentioned here yesterday about a white shark grabbing an oar from the hands of volunteer lifeguard, Greg Ross, while he was in a surf boat off of Hawks Nest Beach. According to Ross’ own account, he did not in any way use the oar to "fend off" the shark, rather Ross had a hold of the oar when the shark grabbed a hold of it and pulled it from his hands before he even saw the shark. The article also claims that the shark was “so intent on devouring the oar” that it left two teeth embedded in it. While the shark did, in fact, leave two teeth behind, it was also “so intent on devouring the oar” that it lost interest in it and left the oar in the water for Ross and his crew to recover.
The claim that Ross “fended off” the shark with the oar is about as accurate as saying that a pickpocket victim fended off his assailant with a wallet.
The NY Daily News also earns extra special points for using the “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” reference in a hard news story.